The ability to pay and have tickets scanned using smartphones has been common in Europe, but Americans who ride trains to work still have to buy paper tickets in most instances.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which serves 1.3 million people daily, will inaugurate the first smartphone-based rail ticketing system in the country this fall, Slash Gear reported Tuesday.
Smartphone users will download an app available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices that will allow them to purchase a ticket; the app then displays the bar code on the device's screen that can be scanned by ticket takers on the train.
The smartphone-based ticketing program is being conducted in partnership with a London firm called Masabi that has introduced similar systems in Britain.
A small test pilot program will be conduced this summer before the full launch in the fall, Boston officials said.