Chesterton Tribune



South Shore goes high tech with mobile ticketing app

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The South Shore has become the first passenger service in the Chicago region and one of the few across the country to offer a free mobile app to purchase train tickets.

Members of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, the public agency which owns and operates the South Shore, viewed a real-time demonstration of the mobile app that also will provide train schedules, station information, a system map and other content.

The app launched Friday and NICTD chief information officer Boris Matakovic said by mid-morning 145 users were registered and all feedback was positive.

Available for both Apple iOS and Android devices like smartphones and tablets, the service’s built-in security features accept Discover, Visa, Mastercard and American Express payments.

The app displays a smart-tile home screen and can be downloaded through the App Store or Googleplay; riders can purchase all types of tickets including one-way, reduced-fare or monthly passes although the latter must be purchased the 1st of the month or later in the month it will be used.

Multiple tickets can be purchased on one device for groups traveling together. The app will email a permanent record of the purchase transaction.

Matakovic said 70 percent of South Shore commuters have smartphones to help manage their lives so it made sense to give them a tool to better manage their commutes.

An advantage for NICTD, said general manager Gerald Hanas, is eliminating many cash ticket sales made on the trains. Using the app, riders will purchase a ticket and show conductors their mobile-device screen with the e-ticket displayed.

The app technology powered by Bytemark, a mobile transit ticketing vendor, will employ safeguards like travel zones, color coding and expiration date to assure the ticket is valid, said Matakovic.

According to NICTD marketing director John Parsons, NICTD expects mobile ticketing will grow in popularity and the district will continue to upgrade the app as needed.

Tickets still may be purchased from South Shore conductors, vending machines and ticket agents.



Posted 6/3/2014