Southern California regional rail authority Metrolink has launched the first version of its mobile ticketing app to enable passengers to use their smartphones to buy and display tickets.

The new mobile app uses UK-based Masabi’s JustRide mobile ticketing system, which is used by other transportation providers across the US and Europe.

Metrolink will test the app and allow passengers to buy tickets on the Inland Empire-Orange County Line during March, although all passengers will be able to download the app.

Metrolink board of directors chair Shawn Nelson said: "The Metrolink board of directors is pleased to finally offer our riders this technology as an overdue option."

Testing the app will help Metrolink to make any necessary improvements before it is implemented system-wide.

JustRide features ticket purchase, user display and easy validation, as well as back-end infrastructure for secure payments, ticket management, customer service, reporting and real-time analytics.

"The Metrolink board of directors is pleased to finally offer our riders this technology as an overdue option."

Metrolink CEO Art Leahy said: "By taking a phased approach in the implementation of our new app, Metrolink intends to make regular improvements and upgrades based on feedback from our users.

"Our riders can look forward to continuous improvement of Metrolink’s service, including mobile ticketing."

Effective from April, mobile ticketing will be expanded to the entire Metrolink system and includes free transfers to participating bus operators, including Metro.

Riders who transfer to Metro Rail and Corporate QuickCard users and Metrolink riders who take part in the Rail 2 Rail programme with Amtrak should initially continue to use paper tickets from Metrolink’s ticket vending machines.

Metrolink noted barcode readers will be installed later this year on Metro Rail fare gates, which will allow passengers across the system to buy tickets through the mobile app and continue their commute on a city or shuttle bus, light rail and subway lines at no additional cost.

In addition, Metrolink is working with Amtrak to allow mobile tickets to be scanned by Amtrak conductors.