LIRR launches smartphone payment trial

PORT WASHINGTON - The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is testing a pilot program that could eventually allow commuters to ditch paper tickets and pay their fares with the tap of a smartphone instead.

LIRR President Helena Williams says MTA employees are testing Nokia phones embedded with a special communication chip at 22 stations, including Port Washington. Right now, the program only records where a commuter's trip starts and ends. Eventually, LIRR commuters will get to try the technology and use it to pay for fares, Williams says, and it should make paying for train rides faster and more convenient.LIRR officials say the ?tap points? won't eliminate the need for fare collectors, who will still have to walk along the trains checking phones for payments.

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