Whenever I visit Portland, about 10 minutes before arrival I always buy a Trimet Day Pass for $5 on my phone. This enables occasional users like me to use transit at will without giving a second thought to fare media.
Well, Seattle is finally catching up. On Thursday, King County Metro and Sound Transit will announce Puget Sound’s first mobile ticketing app, called TransitGoTicket. The app will allow Metro and (some) Sound Transit riders to purchase tickets and day passes on their phones without having to buy or use an ORCA card. The iOS app is already live, with Android and Windows to follow Thursday.
Of the 7 ORCA agencies, Metro and Sound Transit are the only initial partners, but Metro hopes a successful rollout will entice other agencies to join. The limited participation will lead to some awkward outcomes, especially pertaining to the goal of interagency integration. Whereas ORCA uses card taps to record trips and apportion funds between agencies, mobile tickets will function as flash passes, meaning there is no way to apportion revenue for multi-agency trips. Accordingly, all revenue from app-purchased tickets has to stay within each agency ‘bucket’, which means no interagency transfers for mobile payment. Riders wanting a true interagency day pass ($8) will still need to purchase one with an ORCA card at a Ticket Vending Machine.
Mobile payment will only be available on Metro, the King County Water Taxi, the First Hill and South Lake Union Streetcars, Link, and Sounder. Metro will offer all of its standard ticket types, while King County Water Taxi will offer single fare tickets at the cash price (ORCA users would still get a discount). Sound Transit will offer day passes only on Link ($6.50) and Sounder ($11.50), priced at 2x the maximum fare. Because ST Express routes are operated by 3 different agencies – Metro operates only 9 of the 28 routes – Sound Transit has decided not to extend mobile ticketing to ST Express until there is broader agency participation.
The complete list of available tickets is as follows: Continue reading “Metro and Sound Transit Debut Mobile Fare Payment”