Masabi says the technology will allow users to download tickets quickly and securely to their phone, avoiding the need to queue at ticket machines or use cash to purchase tickets onboard.

"We are as excited to begin testing the next generation ticket selling technology as we were when we introduced ticket vending machines a quarter of a century ago," says Metro North President Mr Howard Permut. "Our customers adapted quickly to TVMs and they became the preferred way to buy tickets. The latest test is intended to ensure that the newest technology will be equally easy to use, as well as secure and reliable."

During the pilot, selected users will be able to download the free app to their iPhone, Android, or Blackberry phones allowing them to purchase any ticket with type of ticket with any origin or destination using a credit or debit card.

The time and date-stamped electronic ticket appears on the purchaser's phone screen as a secure image that can be validated visually by the conductor. The electronic ticket also displays a barcode that can be scanned by a handheld device to verify the validity of the barcode.

Next month Metro North staff will begin testing the system including a time measurement study to compare the new method to current on-board ticket selling, collection and inspection. If successful, Metro North will look at extending the pilot to passengers.