LIRR's eTicket Sales Test a Big Hit With Customers

Nearly 6,000 MTA Long Island Rail Road customers ventured online to buy rail tickets to travel to The Barclays PGA TOUR Event August 21-26 at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, L.I., then said overwhelmingly in a survey that the LIRR's first-ever use of mobile ticketing was a big winner.

The LIRR carried some 30,000 customers to and from Farmingdale Station during the six days of professional golf at the park's famed Black Course. Customers purchased 5,894 rail tickets or 20 percent of the tickets sold for the event online via the Long Island technology firm CooCoo, which provided the mobile ticketing for The Barclays at no cost to the LIRR as part of a pilot.

"Our first-ever experiment with live mobile ticketing has been a huge success," said LIRR President Helena Williams. "Sales far exceeded our expectations. Customers loved the convenience of it and the technology worked well. This experience will help us move forward to expand mobile ticketing options for our customers in the future."

LIRR customers heading to The Barclays were able to buy round trip tickets to Farmingdale online directly from CooCoo web site. Once the online purchase was made, customers received their train tickets via email to print out at home or download to their smart phone for presentation to LIRR staff at Farmingdale Station, where they were validated with a handheld barcode-reader.

A survey of 368 online ticket holders at Farmingdale Station found that 99% of respondents were "very satisfied" with their overall online ticketing experience, with 81% giving the process a top grade of 5 and 18% giving it a grade of 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. A final survey question, which asked: "Would you purchase future train tickets online," 100% of the participants answered "Yes."

The LIRR took 16 percent of all attendees to Bethpage State Park for the The Barclays via the Farmingdale Station.

Williams said the LIRR hopes to add mobile ticketing to its ticket purchasing options sometime next year and expects to issue a Request for Proposals this fall to procure the hand held devices and software needed for the effort.

CooCoo Inc., based in Huntington, L.I, is no stranger to LIRR customers. The company provides real time train arrival and departure times via text message, iPhone, Android, web and mobile web to Long Island Rail Road riders and other commuters. The company's mobile ticketing system is its latest product serving consumers and transit agencies.

The following photographs of LIRR conductors validating online train tickets at Farmingdale Station were taken by John Splotore of the Long Island Rail Road.

Conductor Edward Doerrbecker Jr at work
Conductor Edward Doerrbecker Jr at work

Conductor Darcy Fader at work
Conductor Darcy Fader at work.