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SFMTA to Launch Mobile Fare Payment Pilot

Monday, January 5, 2015

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that it will pilot a new smartphone application (app) for purchasing and using transit fares across the Muni system. With the new app, riders will no longer be required to have exact change or rely on fare vending machines to ride. The pilot is expected to begin in the summer of 2015.

“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. “Customers will now have another convenient option to pay their Muni fares in addition to cash and Clipper.”

The SFMTA will be partnering with GlobeSherpa, a leading provider of secure mobile ticketing and payment software, to deliver this project to Muni customers. GlobeSherpa’s mobile ticketing platform allows transit riders to purchase, store and use tickets to ride the Muni system using a smartphone and an eCommerce website. Users will be able to store a debit or credit card or use PayPal to purchase tickets anytime and anywhere. GlobeSherpa also will provide SFMTA Transit Fare Inspectors with a new enforcement application to verify mobile fares using a separate hand-held mobile device.

While the Muni mobile payment application will offer fares for Muni only, it is part of a broader effort to evaluate smartphone mobile payment options for adjoining Bay Area transit operators that participate in the Clipper card program. The next generation of Clipper card, slated for introduction by 2020, aims to provide multiple payment options to Clipper patrons.

The Muni mobile payment app will include the following features:

  • Ability to purchase, store, and use single or multiple Muni fares on one mobile device
  • Allow passengers to pay for single-ride fares, cable car rides, and one-day, three-day, and seven-day passports
  • Industry-leading security to protect personal information and payments
  • Multi-language support
  • Responsive eCommerce website for online ticket purchases

“It’s very common to see transit riders using a mobile device while on the bus or train, and riders are asking their agencies to provide mobile ticketing technologies,” said Nat Parker, GlobeSherpa CEO. “The SFMTA is responding and we’re ready to help them make it happen.”

The Muni mobile payment application will initially be available for iOS and Android operating systems and there will be no change in fare structure.  Transfers will still be available for those who pay with cash.