Pay by phone to ride Metro, Water Taxi, more, with new Transit GO Ticket app

Just out of the WSB inboxMetro has just announced a pilot project offering mobile ticketing for buses, the Water Taxi, and other regional transit:

Riders who don’t want to pay cash to ride transit now have a new way to pay. King County Metro Transit is launching the Puget Sound region’s first-ever mobile ticket app – Transit GO Ticket – allowing riders to buy and redeem transit tickets on their mobile device without needing cash to ride. Under a six to 12 month pilot project, tickets can be purchased for use on King County Metro buses, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar and Sound Transit’s Link light rail and Sounder trains.

Currently, riders pay cash, purchase tickets or use an ORCA card to ride transit. Having an app is designed to be more convenient for infrequent transit riders – including visitors, sports fans or those who would otherwise pay cash.

Riders can simply use the app to purchase a Transit GO Ticket on an Apple, Android or Windows mobile device and show it to a transit operator, fare collector or fare inspector.

“Transit GO Tickets are the latest example of innovations that make transit easier for our customers,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We look forward to hearing from the community about mobile tickets as we continue to make sure Metro and Sound Transit offer seamless, efficient service across town and across the region.”

Mobile tickets are the latest milestone in Executive Constantine’s efforts toward greater regional transit integration between King County Metro and Sound Transit. This includes joint regional planning and the bus and rail integration as Sound Transit extended Link light rail to Capitol Hill and UW.

Data gathered in the next year will determine whether Metro fully implements the service or makes adjustments.

“We are customer driven, and feedback will help make this new tool even more effective at serving the needs of riders,” said Metro General Manager Rob Gannon.

Water taxi customers also can pay to ride with their mobile device.

“A Transit GO Ticket is a flexible and convenient option for the casual water taxi rider, and could help visitors more easily travel to and from downtown during the holiday season,” said King County Marine Division Director Paul Brodeur.

How does it work?

Riders who don’t want to pay cash or purchase an ORCA pass can:

· Download the Transit GO Ticket app for Android, Apple or Windows mobile devices.

· Create an account

· Purchase one or more tickets through the app using a credit card or debit card.

· Activate the tickets needed just prior to boarding; there is no limit to the number of tickets that can be activated at one time.

· Show the mobile display to a transit operator, a water taxi fare collector, or have it available if requested by a fare inspector on RapidRide, Link light rail or Sounder.

· Transfers are allowed between Metro buses within a two-hour window.

The Transit GO Ticket app pilot project was created under contract by Bytemark, which has similar systems in use (or coming to) in Austin, Texas; New York Waterway; Massachusetts DOT, Atlanta, Toronto, and York. With its partners at Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and King County Marine Division, Metro will evaluate the performance of the app and gather rider feedback through November 2017. The results also will guide further developments of mobile ticketing.

The pilot project is budgeted at approximately $470,000 and 86 percent of the project is funded by Federal Transit Administration grant money.

8 Replies to "Pay by phone to ride Metro, Water Taxi, more, with new Transit GO Ticket app"

  • HelperMonkey December 6, 2016 (10:52 am)

    wow, this is a great idea. I infrequently take the bus and have to rustle up cash every time before I do. This is similar to what Portland has been using for their transit for years. Glad to see Metro getting with the times. 

  • Evan December 6, 2016 (12:22 pm)

    This is the best thing I’ve heard in like a month!

  • KM December 6, 2016 (1:10 pm)

    Awesome–I won’t have to wonder about my ORCA card balance being updated now as I’m not a frequent rider. I wonder if I could transfer my existing balance to a credit through the app?

    • Jeff Switzer, Metro December 6, 2016 (2:08 pm)

      KM, Transit GO Tickets are account based, tied to a credit or debit card that you provide in the app, so not able to be connected to your ORCA card. If you want to check on your ORCA card balance, there are some options here, or by calling customer service!

  • David December 6, 2016 (3:59 pm)

    A question regarding the current system – Can I transfer money from a credit/debt card to my Orca card which would replace trips to the Orca value-add stations?

  • AMD December 6, 2016 (8:26 pm)

    Wow!  Someone developed an app for the Windows phone!

  • Shawn December 6, 2016 (9:40 pm)

    I’m a daily Metro user, so the app isn’t meant for me, but I installed the iOS version out of curiosity. 

    It currently doesn’t offer any modes of travel. (Maybe they filled their pilot slots already?) Bytemark also chose to use their own payment card storage, which is unfortunate. They could have easily leveraged Apple Pay, which I already use quite often. I trust it more than an app vendor to store card info.

    Still, this is a nice surprise. I imagine it will be useful when we have guests visiting.

  • photon December 7, 2016 (1:03 pm)

    Will there be a surcharge to use it, like the PayByPhone parking app?

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