HICKSVILLE - For 180 years, conductors have been punching riders' tickets on the Long Island Rail Road. Now, that tried-and-true fare collection method could be getting a high-tech makeover.

The LIRR and Metro-North have voted to approve the development of an app that would allow riders to purchase tickets on their smartphones.

The app would let commuters simply show their smartphone screens to the conductor to ride, eliminating wait times at ticket windows and machines. The LIRR says the app would likely help the MTA save money by reducing machine maintenance.

The software company that's developing the app has also created a smartphone payment system for Nassau's NICE Bus system. The firm has already implemented the app for commuter rail lines in Boston and San Diego, where the company says about 25 percent of riders have switched to using the app full time.

The full MTA board still must vote on the app plan. That vote is expected on Wednesday.