Goodbye Charlie Card—Boston Bus Fares Could Soon Be Sold by Smartphone

There are fare vending machines in fewer than half of Boston's commuter rail stations so most people buy their tickets on-board the trains. However the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority announced today that come fall, riders may be able to prepurchase their fares on their phones.

The MBTA is pairing with Masabi, a UK-based mobile ticketing and payment firm. "With this new and innovative approach, we are putting a ticket machine right in the palms of our customers' hands," said Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis, by allowing riders to purchase fares on their phones with credit or debit cards.

What's more, the new ticketing scheme, which would rely on barcodes rather than NFC technology, could possibly replace the CharlieCard for month-pass riders. the Charlie Card program, which was rolled out in just 2007, was supposed to be the next big NFC thing, promising numerous near-term technological innovations. However, at this point those innovations appear to be scrapping the card system in favor of the next next big NFC thing—bar codes. Interesting to see a municipality moving away from a technology before it has even had an opportunity at widespread adoption, government usually lags behind prevailing trends. [Business Wire via PC World via Mobile Payments Today - Image: The AP ]