Some Thanksgiving travelers taking the train to the plane, or who are merely traveling by rail or taking a flight, now can leave all the paperwork behind and access e-tickets or mobile boarding passes from their smartphone apps.
You can now purchase a ticket and get a mobile boarding pass oftentimes faster than it takes to download some of these airline and train apps, and the availability of such mobile ticketing options will only increase as travel companies and travelers become more comfortable with the practice.
The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) introduced free mobile-ticketing apps for iPhone and Android that enable commuters to purchase single rides, round-trips, and 10-ride tickets.
Just purchase the tickets in the app, take your smartphone on board, and a conductor will scan your -ticket.
This mTicket app is only available for five of the MBTA’s rail lines, but coverage, along with the ability to purchases monthly passes within the app, are on the way.
Amtrak railing, too
Amtrak earlier this month updated its free Android and iPhone apps, with the latter giving rail passengers the ability to access their e-tickets when they show up at the train station from the iOS 6 Passbook app. Passengers can display their e-tickets from the Amtrak apps or they can add it to Passbook, which becomes especially useful if your itinerary includes both rail and airline segments. With the Amtrak apps, you can also change your reservations from within the app, and access your Amtrak Guest Rewards account.
So if you are getting used to air passengers taking out their smartphones when they get to the gate at the airport and scanning them as mobile boarding passes, that dynamic will become more common on the trains, as well.
Meanwhile, the car rental industry lags a little behind airlines and rail, but they are getting there. For the most part, average customers can’t merely show up at the car rental ticket counter, whip out their smartphones, and pick out their cars, but many car rental apps, such as those from Avis (for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile), enable customers to make reservations, as well as modify and cancel them.
Slowly, paper tickets for travel are going the way of the typewriter.