Smartphone app will allow paperless transit tickets

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Transit authorities in Fort Worth, Dallas and Denton are on track to let bus and train passengers buy tickets and passes using their smartphones and tablets.

An app called GoPass is in beta testing, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit officials said it should be available in the app store and on Google Play by mid-September.

GoPass is free and will be available to bus and train passengers on DART, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority and the Denton County Transportation Authority.

Passengers can buy tickets and different types of passes for the Trinity Railway Express, DART Light Rail and buses operated by the transportation systems.

“The response has been spectacular,” said Nevin Grinnell, director of marketing for DART, describing the beta testing, which continues until July 17.

Grinnell said around 700 testers were chosen from the Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton area.

Officials from the T could not be reached for comment.

Grinnell said the three transit agencies wanted to work with beta testers who either use the systems frequently to go to work or other activities, or who ride occasionally to go to events, such as a basketball game.

GoPass also has features to let patrons plan their trips and take advantage of events near transit centers, Grinnell said.

It will eventually allow people ability to buy concert tickets and pay for transportation to the American Airlines Center and other entertainment venues.

Currently, the app features a discount to the Dallas Zoo and to the Kimbell Art Museum, Grinnell said.

The transit agencies contracted with Danish developer Unwire for $1.4 million to develop the app.

Lawrence Sutton, project manager for the app, said people can buy tickets in advance or at the time they need to take the bus or train. Smartphones will display an image of the ticket so that bus drivers and fare enforcement officers can tell whether someone is trying to cheat the system. The tickets are color-coded.

DART considered using smart cards, such as those used for the Metro system in Washington, D.C., but DART stations don’t have turnstiles, and the cards would be expensive to implement.

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz

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