TriMet mobile ticketing app opens to all mass transit riders in Portland area

Zachary Lutz
Z. Lutz|09.05.13

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TriMet mobile ticketing app opens to all mass transit riders in Portland area

After a successful closed beta trial, mobile ticketing is now a reality for the multitude of mass transit riders in the Portland metropolitan area. The TriMet Tickets app is now available for iPhone and Android users, establishing TriMet as the nation's first multimodal transit agency to offer smartphone-based ticketing across all of its operations -- this includes the region's commuter rail, light rail, streetcar and bus lines. The free app allows users to purchase either one or multiple tickets, which extend from 2-hour fares to 30-day passes. Tickets are verified with QR codes and on-screen animations, making it difficult for riders to game the system with simple screenshots. The mobile payment system is made possible by GlobeSherpa, a Portland-based company that also provides service alerts and backend fleet optimization for the TriMet system. BlackBerry and Windows Phone users can look forward to forthcoming versions of the TriMet Tickets app, and for a quick overview, you'll find a tutorial video after the break.

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TriMet Launches TriMet Tickets Mobile Ticketing App

Free app powered by GlobeSherpa lets transit riders easily and conveniently buy and use tickets right on their smartphone

TriMet makes riding transit easier with today's release of the TriMet Tickets mobile ticketing app. The innovative app makes our riders the first in the U.S. to use a mobile ticketing app to ride both buses and trains.

"The TriMet Tickets app is part of our five year plan focused on making the customer experience better and today we take a tremendous leap forward for our riders," said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. "We are excited to put it into the hands – or should we say phones – of our riders, making it simple to buy and use fares anywhere, anytime."

TriMet partnered with local software developer GlobeSherpa to create a mobile ticketing app that's innovative and simple to use. "We're taking the technology we developed here in Portland with TriMet and sharing it with other transit agencies across the country, said Nat Parker, GlobeSherpa CEO and co-founder. "Our technology reduces the cost of fare collection, helps optimize fleet operations, and improves the rider experience."

Saving You Time and us Money

The TriMet Tickets app is expected to save the agency millions of dollars by reducing the operating costs associated with printed and cash fares. It also brings TriMet one step closer to a state-of-the-art electronic fare collection system that will eventually provide all riders – not just those with smartphones – with easy and convenient ways to pay their fare. We will begin testing an eFare system as early as fall 2015. Learn more about eFares.

Get started

With the TriMet Tickets app, riding has never been easier. Just go to your Apple or Android app store and search for TriMet Tickets. Download the free app and register your debit or credit card into the secure system.

Buy Tickets Anywhere, Anytime

It takes just a few taps on the screen to purchase your fare. Just go to the "Buy Tickets" tab and choose rider type and fare, then choose how many tickets you want. Then tap "checkout." You'll be taken to the "My Tickets" tab. Tap "Use" and you are ready to ride. The app lets you choose a single fare or multiple fares for a group of riders. You can also purchase tickets on any computer via our website for use in the app.

Ready to Ride

The TriMet Tickets mobile fares are accepted on TriMet buses, MAX trains, WES Commuter Rail and the Portland Streetcar. Start your app before you arrive at your stop. When you see the bus or train approaching, open up the app and on the "My Tickets" tab, press "Use" for the ticket you want to display. Show your phone screen to the bus operator when boarding or when requested by TriMet personnel or Transit Police officers.

No more searching for exact change; no more extra stops to purchase your fare; no paper ticket to keep track of. It's all right there in the palm of your hand.

Verifying Tickets

The mobile tickets are animated, with the expiration date, fare type, and the correct day code. TriMet personnel may ask you to verify your ticket by tapping on any of the windows of the bus. This turns on the lights inside the bus, demonstrating the animated ticket is not a video recording of a valid ticket.

TriMet personnel may also ask you to confirm your ticket is authentic by launching the unique QR code embedded in each ticket. Display that by tapping the blue button in the bottom right corner of the ticket. The QR code can then be scanned using a fare enforcement application and the ticket is verified within seconds. The code contains pertinent data regarding scan status, time, ticket type and location.

Don't wait until you see a fare inspector to launch your ticket – you must validate your ticket before boarding. The expiration date/time flashes for the first four minutes after a ticket has been activated, providing inspectors with a clear visual indicator when tickets were validated.

A minimum purchase of $5 purchase is required. You can buy two Adult 2-Hour tickets and activate them individually or get a Day Pass. It's a great value that gives you unlimited rides throughout the system for the day.

You can also use your TriMet Tickets mobile app to plan trips, check next arrival times, get notifications and service updates.

A network or wireless connection is required to buy tickets via the mobile app, however, once tickets are purchased, they are stored on your smartphone, so you can wait until the bus or train approaches to press "Use" on the ticket.

Learn more information about the TriMet Tickets app and view a how-to video at

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