San Francisco’s Muni public transit system will begin testing a mobile ticketing app this summer, the city’s transit agency announced on Tuesday (Jan. 6).
In the test, which will use iOS and Android mobile apps incorporating technology from mobile-ticketing startup GlobeSherpa, riders will be able to buy tickets online through the app, using a pre-stored payment card or PayPal. Riders will also be able to store and use the tickets directly from their phones on the Muni system, although not on other public-transit systems that operate in San Francisco such as BART, VentureBeat reported.
Details of exactly how the apps will work aren’t clear, but GlobeSherpa uses a combination of NFC, Low-Energy Bluetooth and on-screen data for its ticketing apps in other cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland. In San Francisco, the payment system will eventually have to work on all Muni trains, cable cars, buses and street cars.
The San Francisco transit agency said that, along with modernizing fare payments on Muni, the test is also “part of a broader effort to evaluate smartphone mobile payment options for adjoining Bay Area transit operators that participate in the Clipper card program.”
Clipper is a contactless card that users can preload with credit to use for public transit fare payments throughout the San Francisco Bay area. That system is officially due for an upgrade in 2020.