Bus pass on your phone? There’s an app for that

Photo by Eric Fischer

Not to get your hopes too high, but check this out: Boston’s MBTA is the first municipal transit agency to introduce ticketing via smartphone. From the Atlantic’s Cities blog:

Earlier this week, the agency passed the million-dollar milestone selling single, 10-trip and one-month passes for its commuter rail system through the new app, offering a proof of concept for an idea that could expand soon to buses and metro service and other cities. …

Mobile ticketing … entails the promise that your ticket office could be anywhere – or, rather, in your back pocket. When the MBTA surveyed commuter rail passengers last June about the prospect, about half said they’d be game to try it. And 76 percent of riders said they already owned a smart phone (up from 66 percent just the year before). The idea is similar to one many people are already familiar with on Amtrak or at the airport, scanning mobile tickets at the security gate. But most air passengers first buy their tickets on a computer before receiving them through email on a smart phone. With public transit, the phone could be the vending machine and the ticket.

OMG OMG OMG! Would you sign up to have Muni tickets and/or Clipper Cards on your phone? Pretty sure I would. I think.

Read more on the Cities blog. And thanks for sharing, @archijoey!


  • Dan Berkes via Facebook

    I’m sure we could have one, though. All it will take is about eight to ten years of public input, committee meeting and preliminary testing before the debut of a product that only works right half the time but somehow manages to debit your account for 150% of the monthly pass fee. Oh, and it won’t work on cable cars or bus routes ending with an X.

  • Tom Lemos via Facebook

    I dunno. My Walgreens Reward card doesn’t scan so well. Hopefully they use a bigger pattern.

  • robert

    What would be easier is if Clipper gave us the option to have a Clipper card or a Clipper nfc sticker that we could attach to our phone cases.

  • Will

    Bad idea. This plan will make it even easier to evade fares, since you can now quickly buy a ticket when enforcement comes on the vehicle. No one will pay as a result.

  • moonie

    So when I’m out of battery power again, I won’t be able to come back home? 🙁

  • Gabriella Jean

    This would be a great idea. Include this app in ADDITION to the Clipper Cards, do it for BART & MUNI

  • Gabriella Jean

    Have the Clipper Card in the form of an APP>>> keeping your phone battery charged on the go these days is relatively easy and inexpensive, get a portable phone charger.

  • Give me a price for 2 sets flap turstile include card reader?

  • Henry Larry

    Wow this looks really useful. Being able to use my phone as a ticket would streamline my commute so much. Can not wait for this to become more widespread.
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