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New Jersey Transit yesterday announced a pilot program to test new fare collection technology on trains.Launched this week, the program enables train crews to use handheld mobile devices to scan and validate tickets. Now, crews visually inspect all electronic tickets and paper passes, and use manual punches for paper tickets.Under the pilot, train crews across multiple lines will begin using the handheld mobile devices, NJ Transit officials said in a press release. Once a ticket is scanned, a crew member will be able to instantly determine its validity."By scanning all ticket types, NJ Transit will have improved capability to collect and analyze data including fare collection and ridership trends," agency officials said. "Electronic scanning also combats against the use of fraudulent tickets."In addition, the handheld devices will support real-time communication with conductors to enhance the flow of information to riders, according to the agency.Before initiating a gradual systemwide rollout, NJ Transit will collect feedback on the handheld devices and make refinements as needed.