going mobile - mass transit magazine
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DESCRIPTIONDART's GoPass featured in Mass Transit Magazine December 2013.
28 DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014 Mass TransiT www.MassTransitmag.com
For Nat Parker, CEO of GlobeSher-
pa, mobile ticketing makes a lot
of sense in todays increasingly
Mobile phones especially
smartphones are now common
devices possessed by the vast ma-
jority of the populous of North
America. Everywhere you look,
someone is using one of these
phones for various tasks ranging
from banking to menial updates to
their social media accounts.
Parker noticed a lot of people use
their smartphones while on a bus or
a train, but not to access transit.
Were transit riders, Parker said.
You know, its funny, it blows me
away how many developers when
we go to APTA or the Smart Card Al-
liance is a lot of them dont ride the
bus and they dont really ride transit.
For us, we believe in staying in touch
with the experience of the user on an
ongoing basis so we can ask ourselves
how we can make this easier.
RISE OF THE MOBILE PHONE
Fare collection companies and transit
agencies are pushing mobile ticketing
because of opportunities it presents
to lower fare collection costs while
ofering appealing ways for riders
to pay. Kim Green, president of SPX
Genfare, said unlike traditional fare
media, riders purchase the majority
of the equipment as opposed to the
transit agency and with a Pew Re-
search Center showing 91 percent of
adults have cell phones, it shows a
deep market penetration.
In transit its still kind of new, but
there have been a number of pilot
programs using mobile ticketing with
some very impressive results, Green
said. We expect to see this widely ad-
opted in the next several years.
According to a mobile ticketing
report by Juniper Research, one in
eight mobile subscribers will use
their device for airline, bus, rail fes-
tival, cinema and sporting events by
2015. About 500 million people are
projected to use a mobile device for
transit access by 2015.
On Sept. 16, Dallas Area Rapid
Transit launched GoPass, its new mo-
bile ticketing option for customers.
When launched leaders planned to
have 50,000 people download the app
and use it by years end, but just six
weeks into the program, ofcials said
25,000 people had it on their phone.
At this point weve had to revise
our overall year end to 60,000, said
David Leininger, executive vice pres-
ident and chief fnancial ofcer for
DART. But when we launched it, we
thought at the time that 50,000 was
a little aggressive.
About 1,000 people per day are
downloading GoPass, Leininger said.
With all the downloads, he said theyre
also happy with the feedback DART is
getting about the mobile option.
Mobile ticketing lets transit agencies leverage customer phones to provide more efficient ticketing.
Mobile ticketing growth continues as popularity explodes with riders.
mass_28-31_1213Mobile.indd 28 11/26/13 2:59 PM
It has been a very, very good intro-
duction and the customers really, really
like it, Leininger said. Customers have
been giving a lot of positive feedback
and weve gotten a lot of positive press.
TriMet and the Portland Streetcar
also launched its new ticketing app
in September, which was developed
by GlobeSherpa to work on both
systems. In its frst six weeks, Parker
said there were 16,000 regular users,
18,000 total users, 158,000 tickets sold
and more than $700,000 in sales.
We didnt know what to expect, but
TriMet had some numbers that were
much lower, Parker said. We were
very bullish on mobile payments.
Amol Deshmukh, vice president of
mobile fnancial services solutions
at Gemalto, said mobile payments
are attractive because of the advent
of near feld communication (NFC) in
cell phones, which changes the tick-
eting infrastructure for transit agen-
cies, who dont have to use their own
equipment as fare media.
It also transforms how passes are
used because riders can then use
the same app to purchase goods at
a nearby store or for other events,
which allows agencies to have their
app become a common tool for riders
to use in everyday life.
Were seeing a lot of interest from
diferent players in diferent indus-
tries, he said. We have the phone
ready to use, so why not have them
use it then when they go to Hertz to
access a car, or when they check into a
hotel. Why does the user have to stop
at a front desk when they can start
getting their room key on their phone
thats enabled for the hours theyre
supposed to be there, so they can then
walk directly to their room.
GoPass is a little more intricate
than just acting as a ticket for getting
onto DART buses and trains. Te app
can also be used to board nearby Den-
ton County Transit Authority (DCTA)
and Fort Worth Transit Authority (Te
T), which see a lot of crossover into
DART due to the three systems prox-
imities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Te app also has ofers and spe-
cials for events in the region, next
bus information and an integrated
trip planner allows users to fnd their
transit route on any system utilizing
Google trip planning.
Leininger said theres a lot of in-
terest with large venues in the area
to allow the GoPass to be a single
transaction unit for access to con-
ventions and theyre also develop-
ing a push notifcation system, which
with permission by the user, could
allow GoPass to send information
about events and specials, making
it even more versatile.
We really wanted more than a
payment product, Leininger said.
We wanted this to be a robust transit
product riders will get to use a lot.
SECURITY IN TECHNOLOGY
Security is a concern for DART, Le-
ininger said, so when setting up the
app, planners took the extraordinary
measures to make sure the agency
or Unwire doesnt have access to the
customers credit card information.
Tat was very important because
the whole issue of who has access to
the credit cards, the names, the pass-
codes is something we dont have to
worry about, he said.
Green said a lot of longtime tran-
sit riders like the security of having
a traditional fare card as opposed to
mobile tickets, but questions about
the new technology can be overcome
with proper planning of new fare col-
We believe that agencies need to
have a whole myriad of options for
customers, he said. Some appeal
more than others to everyday riders.
Unlike changes from cash and pa-
per media to fare cards or smart cards,
mobile ticketing can be implemented
for less cost given mobile devices are
purchased by the users, not the agen-
cy. Parker said the agency can either
implement NFC devices on fare ma-
chines or scanners or mobile ticketing
can also be used in a fash pass fashion
with proper training to operators.
You can do a tap where the color
changes or theres an animation, so
riders cant just take a screenshot and
give it to a friend, Parker said. Like on
the TriMet ticket it looks like a TriMet
bus and you see a city scape, but when
you tap on it, it turns on the lights and
thats the Easter egg type of features
that riders just absolutely love.
Deshmukh said theres also added
safety built into the fact that people
are more protective of their smart-
phones than other items, so they take
extra care to keep them secure.
It can start saving money now
in costs for cards lost and stolen, he
said. Te mobile phone is owned by
the user and even when it comes to a
credit card, if I leave it at a restaurant,
I dont go back in to get it, I cancel it. Fareboxes can be set to take both mobile and traditional media.
Scanners can pick up fare media set up on smart phones.
mass_28-31_1213Mobile.indd 29 11/26/13 2:59 PM
30 DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014 Mass TransiT www.MassTransitmag.com
Maybe that makes me lazy, but it
is easier to go home and call and
cancel it. But if its my phone I leave, I go
back and get it. I never leave the park-
ing lot not knowing if I have my phone.
GROWTH WILL REMAIN ROBUST
Mobile ticketing can also be put in place
quickly. Leininger said DART signed its
contract with Unwire in October 2012,
so it only took 11 months to bring it
online. Te biggest issue with setting
up mobile ticketing was training more
than 1,000 operators and customer ser-
vice agents, then developing customer
awareness about the new product.
Te technology and this kind
of medium is what Id say is noth-
ing new, Leininger said. Were not
breaking atoms or anything like that.