Say Goodbye to Cash on The Bus
MCTS unveils mobile payment app. Bus riding may never be the same.
You can now pay for a bus ride in Milwaukee with your phone. The Milwaukee County Transit System has unveiled a mobile application that allows users to purchase fares on their smartphone.
The app also integrates with two critical services for bus riders, Google Maps and the system’s real-time bus tracker. Users can leverage the app to get route directions anywhere in Milwaukee County and monitor the arrival time of their bus using the real time tracker. Those features are currently available in third-party apps, but users had never had the convenience of using their phone to pay for a ride.
Riders using the app will purchase their ticket before getting on the bus and then show their phone screen to the driver who will visually validate the fare. The drivers will be able be able to easily validate the fare by looking for a moving countdown clock and an animated graphic that includes a MCTS bus driving past Miller Park. The moving graphics help prevent fraud, with the day’s date also included on the display to ensure validity.
Approximately 12 percent of riders currently pay for their fare with cash. Those riders can still use cash if they want, but will now have a much easier and faster way to board the bus. MCTS provides approximately 142,000 rides every weekday according to the system’s 2015 annual report.
Riders will be able to purchase 90 minute fares ($2) or day passes ($5) with the app. Additional fare types, including weekly and monthly passes, can be purchased using the M-Card.
The app was developed in partnership with Madison-based Tixora. The company first worked with MCTS in 2016 to help provide digital tickets for Summerfest shuttle service. In two years the Summerfest app has sold over 55,000 tickets.
The app is currently only available on the iOS platform, but an Android app is in the works and is expected in the coming months. To find the app in the Apple App Store, search for “Ride MCTS” or visit this app page.
For those seeking to learn how to use the app, MCTS has prepared a how-to guide.
MCTS leveraged a federal grant to support the development of the application, which came at the cost of $180,000.
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