Transportation

Houston Transit Riders Could Soon Have A New Option For Paying Their Fare

Metro has enlisted volunteers to test a new mobile ticketing app.

smartphone showing Metro's mobile ticketing appGail Delaughter | Houston Public Media
Metro is currently testing a mobile ticketing app that would allow riders to purchase single fare tickets and day passes.

Metro is currently testing a mobile ticketing app that would allow riders to purchase single fare tickets and day passes.

If you’re a regular transit rider, you’ve probably found yourself in a situation where just can’t scrape up that last nickel. Or maybe you’ve forgotten your Q-Card.

But what if you could pay for all your transit trips by smartphone? 

They’re already doing it in Austin and Dallas. Now Houston riders could soon enjoy the same convenience.

We caught up with rail rider Carol Loza on Main Street. She says she’s ready to give it a try.

“It would save having to have the card on me, because I always have my phone,” said Loza.

A few blocks away at Metro’s main office, we got a demonstration of a new mobile ticketing app.

“It logs you and gives you access to your wallet where you have all your tickets,” said Guillaume Bonnet, who manages Metro’s fare collections. “And I simply show that to the driver.”

Bonnet says Metro riders can use the app for both single fares and day passes. They can pay with a credit or debit card or use Paypal.

He says the app could be especially helpful for low-income riders.

“Their mobile phone is their source to access the internet, and access their banking and payments and everything,” says Bonnet. “So having a mobile application is in fact directed to those low-income and often underbanked persons.”

The app was developed by a third-party vendor and Metro is now about to start testing. Several hundred riders have volunteered to try it out in different parts of the city.

Meanwhile back on the rail line, we meet security guard Lynette Webb. She’s on the train five days a week and she says a payment app would make her life a lot easier.

“Because sometimes I run and I see a train and I don’t have time to pay for it,” says Webb. “So if I can do it at home through the phone that would be great.”

Metro says the app could be made available to riders as early as February or March.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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