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What is mobile ticketing?

Transit technology has come quite a ways since the first form of public transportation was introduced back in the early 1800s (three horses pulling 42 people on an “omnibus” wasn’t exactly the most efficient way to move around). However, in the past few decades, we’ve probably seen the biggest changes happen right before our eyes with how we pay for transit fares and plan trips.

As riders, we used to only have the option to pay in cash, change, or with tokens when we boarded transit. But around 1970, this all changed with the introduction of the magnetic stripe card, kiosks for credit card payments, then the smart card, and now in the age of the smartphone – mobile ticketing.

Mobile ticketing is one of the latest and greatest improvements to how we can ride public transportation. It’s been gaining significant traction over the past couple of years, especially as mobile payment technology continues to grow in popularity throughout the U.S. By the end of 2016, EMarketer predicts that mobile payment transactions in the U.S. will triple.

So, what is mobile ticketing, exactly?

Mobile ticketing is mobile payment technology that allows riders to purchase transit fares from their phones. App users can securely store their credit card and easily make payments with a few taps of their smartphone. This provides a new convenience that doesn’t involve walking up to a kiosk or a transit station’s front desk to pay. Most times, users just show the transit driver their app screen to board.

But there’s much more to it than that.

As smartphone technology has rapidly progressed, mobile ticketing apps have also made major strides. Riders can now view transit routes in real-time, coordinate with other ridesharing apps, and ultimately view the quickest route to their end destination.

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Not only does mobile ticketing create a solution for payments, but it creates a solution for planning trips.

According to Pew Research Center, as of 2016, 72% of adults in the U.S. report owning a smartphone. This doesn’t even include other mobile devices! As these numbers continue to grow each year and technology makes us more interconnected, this is reflected in how we move around our cities.

Take apps like Uber and Lyft, for example. These ridesharing apps have flipped the taxi industry upside down and as their popularity continues to skyrocket, they’re teaming up with public transportation agencies to further improve the rider experience. Agencies that utilize mobile ticketing technology can now incorporate these ridesharing options within their own apps to give additional transportation options to users.  

This improved interconnectivity makes the definition of mobile ticketing a little broader. Mobile ticketing has already become more than just a new method of fare payments.

It’s becoming the new way to connect your city.