VIA’s Mobile Ticketing App to Get Fresh Look, New Features

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Courtesy / VIA Metropolitan Transit

Users of the VIA goMobile app can purchase passes and show bus operators their mobile tickets to board buses.

New ways to pay and novel security features are coming to VIA Metropolitan Transit's ticketing app in a makeover planned for early 2019 – with more updates due later in the year.

Steve Young, VIA’s vice president of technology & innovation, gave a demo of the planned goMobile app update at a VIA meeting Tuesday. A new layout puts menu options on the bottom of the main screen instead of in a collapsible button on the side.

Beyond that, one of the more noticeable changes will appear in the payment system, which will accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. The current version of the app accepts only Visa and MasterCard. The minimum payment of $2.50 when buying tickets through the app is going away, too, Young said.

Smartphone users with fingerprint or face recognition security options will be able to use those to confirm payment of mobile tickets.

VIA plans to roll out several more updates throughout 2019, such as next bus arrivals and improved trip planning. In the current app, activating the trip planner merely opens Google Maps.

Integrated trip planning will be released sometime in the first half of 2019, Young said. He envisions other mobility providers, such as rideshare and e-scooter companies, providing data on the goMobile app to show scooters or cars in the user's area. The update will set the stage for future integrations, he said.

“No one knows what transportation is going to look like in five to 10 years. …  Our customers need options, and sometimes they need to go an extra mile that VIA doesn’t go,” he said. “To us, it’s about integration as much as possible.”

Young said he thinks the biggest change to the app is the ability to add more features as needed.

“Transportation is changing,” he said. “Something new might come.”

The app first launched last June. Moovel, the company that won VIA’s 2016 contract to build an app, has continued to work with VIA for this updated version, Young said.

“That’s going to make this update process a lot smoother,” he said. “While it’s a completely new code base, it’s the same developers. It’s just going to be a bigger change than the average update.”

In the meeting, VIA Chairwoman Hope Andrade brought up customers who rely on cash only.

“If they wanted to purchase a ticket [in person] with cash, can they do that” and still use the app for mobile bus ticket? she asked.

Young said they are discussing ways to do that.

“It’s hard to convince a company of millennials to understand the importance of this,” he joked.

Overall, VIA is seeing more people use the goMobile app.

“We’re seeing good growth in sales in goMobile,” Young said. “The general trend is upward.”

2 thoughts on “VIA’s Mobile Ticketing App to Get Fresh Look, New Features

  1. If VIA really wants to improve ridership they need to look at the big MTA’s and adopt their method of paying for rides. Don’t have only fixed fare passes but have the ability to deposit money into an account and have rides deduct from that balance. That will increase use by casual riders who don’t ride everyday but will use the service when it may make it easier to move around the city.

  2. Any word on when Via buses will begin to scan the codes on the mobile bus passes? The terminals are installed and non-functional. It has been at least 1.5 years like this.

    Also, blaming things on Millennials is like blaming things on people in the age group 20-38. Substitute that into the Via representative’s joke and it becomes bordering on age discrimination:

    “It’s hard to convince a company of people aged 22-38 to understand the importance of this.”

    This millennial has jokes too.

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