Public transit ticket sales in the Transit app continue to grow, with the app recording nearly 2.5 million ticketing transactions since 2019. But total ticketing transactions in third-party apps are still very low compared with total fare payments for the agencies involved.
The Transit app has recorded nearly 2.5 million ticketing transactions since it began enabling transit agency customers to buy tickets in its trip-planning app in 2019. More than 250,000 customers of 65 agencies have purchased tickets in the app during that time, Transit said. Those figures are up from July 2021, when Transit had marked a little more than 1 million cumulative ticketing transactions from 130,000 customers of more than 50 participating agencies since 2019.
• RTD Denver
• Token Transit
The Transit app has recorded nearly 2.5 million ticketing transactions since it began enabling transit agency customers to buy tickets in its trip-planning app in 2019, the app provider told Mobility Payments.
More than 250,000 customers of 65 agencies have purchased tickets in the app during that time, Transit said. Those figures are up from July 2021, when Transit had marked a little more than 1 million cumulative ticketing transactions from 130,000 customers of more than 50 participating agencies since 2019.
While those figures represent strong growth, the numbers of total transactions and users are still very low compared with total fare payments for these agencies. And unless agencies make the Transit app their default mobile app, which some have done, the figure for mobile tickets purchased in the app can be low compared with the agency’s own mobile app.
Transit was the first of the major trip-planning apps to enable agencies to sell their tickets through its app. Transit works with software-as-a-service ticketing providers Masabi, Token Transit and Bytemark to enable the purchases. Users either show their electronic tickets to bus drivers or other agency personnel for visual verification or scan the tickets on barcode or QR-code readers connected to validators.
Another major trip-planning app, Moovit, has added public transit ticketing, as well. And Google has enabled around 120 agencies to sell tickets through Google Pay, many of them with a link to its Maps app.
Trip-planning app providers Transit and Moovit have said they want to enable users to plan, book and pay for transport, just as users would in full-fledged mobility-as-a-service apps, Mobility Payments has reported. Uber and to a lesser extent Lyft, have also enabled a handful of agencies to sell public transit tickets through their ride-hailing apps. But the trip-planning apps rarely can enable users to pay for multimodal transport out of the same payments account. Uber on Wednesday announced a pilot to sell tickets for trains, coaches, planes and bookings for car rentals in its UK app this year.
Enabling Apple Pay and Google Pay for in-App Purchases
In a recent announcement, Transit said it had begun offering another option for users to fund their in-app ticket purchases, with Apple Pay and Google Pay. The service is beginning with agencies that work with SaaS ticketing provider Token Transit. These include AC Transit in Oakland, CA; Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, CA; Omnitrans in San Bernardino, CA; and JTA of Jacksonville, FL.
The ticket purchases happen entirely in the Transit app, thanks to an API with Token Transit, which issues the ticket. “Once purchased, the ticket is then available in the Transit app. Google Pay and Apple Pay do not store tickets in their own separate wallets,” Stephen Miller of Transit told Mobility Payments. “Instead, they act as a new payment method within the Transit app, where tickets are available for the rider alongside real-time trip planning information.”
Zack Browne, co-founder and head of operations for Token Transit, confirmed to Mobility Payments that the process is the same as before.
“Nothing changes on our end,” he said. “Users just have more ways to pay in the Transit app instead of manually entering their card.”
As before, users can also pay with a stored credit or debit card in the Transit app. And customers of certain transit agencies and cities can load their Transit accounts with cash to buy tickets by scanning a barcode on ticket vending machines or at participating retail outlets in bill-payment networks, such as InComm Payments’ VanillaDirect or T-Cetra’s VidaPay. Cash loading in Transit accounts are only available at present with agencies working with Masabi.
The agencies include COTA in Columbus, OH; The Greater Dayton RTA in Dayton, OH; RTS in Rochester, NY; VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, TX; and the NEORide consortium. The latter is a group of 13 transit agencies in Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan.
The NEORide agencies include SORTA in Cincinnati, OH, which is among agencies that make Transit their default mobile app. NEORide said last year that the Transit app accounted for 55% of all mobile ticketing for the 13 agencies. But mobile ticketing still made up a small part of total revenue for the group of agencies.
Some agencies, like RTD Denver and RTC of Southern Nevada, introduced a local mobile-ticketing app well before they began selling their tickets in such third-party apps as Transit and Uber. For these agencies, sales of their tickets in the third-party apps remain low compared with overall mobile ticketing. For example, third-party app ticket sales accounted for around 1% of total fare payments for RTD Denver in October 2021.
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