Over the course of the past couple of years, a number of industry disruptors such as Uber and Lyft have forced public transit services to rethink their business strategies to keep ridership levels afloat.
San Francisco, a city with a long history of innovation in public transit, is the latest municipality to update their business model for the 21st century.
Back in January, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that they would be partnering with mobile ticketing and payment platform GlobeSherpa to create a dedicated mobile app for ticket transactions.
After months of planning and anticipation, the app was finally made available to customers in November.
It’s called MuniMobile, and it’s designed to be especially convenient for tourists and casual riders. Once downloaded on Android or iOS, riders can save bank card information or link the app with their PayPal account. They can also purchase tickets for later and then redeem them from their smartphones.
“This mobile fare payment pilot program is part of our efforts to improve the customer’s experience on the Muni system. With this new app, riders will be able to buy tickets on their phones anywhere and anytime,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in a press release.
The SFMTA’s pilot program might be the first of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last. Other cities with well-established public transportation infrastructures and prosperous tourist industries will likely follow suit in the near future.