SFMTA Rolling Out MuniMobile Transportation Payments App Nov 16

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Gillmor Gang: Notification Rap

Out of beta and ready for the masses of San Francisco’s public transportation commuters, MuniMobile will roll out November 16, 2015.

MuniMobile is the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) app enabling city riders to load payments for their trip on their smartphone instead of fumbling for change and waiting in line to buy tickets at the station.

Nearly one million people live in San Francisco proper, another couple million commute to and from the city on a daily basis. The new app could affect the more than 421,000 daily Muni riders who are likely to also have a smartphone these days.

The SFMTA, which oversees public transportation in San Francisco, has been testing the app in beta with a few hundred users for about a month now. A post on SFMTA’s site mentions the organization received more than 1,600 applicants willing to test the new app.

Riders will now be able to buy and use transit tickets across the transit system – including Muni buses, light rail, paratransit and SF’s famous cable cars – all within the app starting mid-November.

MuniMobile will also offer easy payment options for rides either through a stored credit card or Paypal.

According to the SFMTA, the app includes the following capabilities:

  • Ability to purchase, store and use single or multiple Muni fares on one mobile device
  • Allow passengers to pay for single-ride fares, cable car rides, and one-day, three-day and seven-day passports
  • Industry-leading security to protect personal information and payments
  • Multi-language support
  • Responsive eCommerce website for online ticket purchases

Many frequent public transportation users in SF have been using the Clipper Card, a contactless payments and ticketing card, for a number of years in the city. However, transportation ticketing has taken a while to go mobile.

Other systems such as New Jersey Transit and Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority made the switch a couple of years ago. It seems ironic that in such a tech-savvy city as San Francisco it would take longer to get there, but these things require critical mass and adoption of smartphones to tip the scale. It seems SFMTA finally thought the population of SF was there.