You can book a taxi from your phone. Rent a car from your phone. Schedule a cross-continental flight from your phone. Then you hop on the local bus without a pass (or the perfect combination of quarters/loonies/toonies) — where your bus driver’s eyes glaze over with a mixture of contempt and mockery: You thought you could pay for this with plastic? You dolt. You dingbat. You bumptious little troglodyte.
Whether it’s counting nickels at the bus stop, dashing into a corner store for a pass last-minute, enduring the long morning line at a fare machine, or trying to decrypt one in a foreign country — paying for transit can be a uniquely dreadful experience. It’s the payment equivalent of being forced to use a rotary phone.
No more rotary madness. Keep the dread for your locks. Mobile transit tickets are here — no additional app required — starting with our first partner city, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Let’s dive right in.
Every day, over 7,000 people in St. Catharines use Transit to get around their city. That’s more than 60% of the people who’ll board a bus. Together with the payment wizards at Masabi — who provide ticketing for 40+ agencies, including our partners in Boston and Las Vegas — we’ve added seamless and secure payments to Transit so people can easily purchase fares, whether it’s:
- a single ride ticket.
- 10-ride ticket.
- one-day pass.
- 31-day pass (adult, senior & student, etc.)
We are launching today with some lucky invite-only testers, then (early next year) for all riders.
You’ll be able to pay for tickets in Transit. Just display your ticket to the driver when you board. Like a plane. But your plane is on the ground.
This is the first time transit tickets have been made available for a major mobility app in North America. This is a pretty big deal — creating an integrated, multi-modal experience that lets you plan + track + pay for trips has been The Mobility Holy Grail® for years. No more talk. Now it really exists.
It’s more than removing the pain of fare machines. It’s about creating an experience where all your mobility options are accessible in one place. Where other apps require you to go through “customs” each time, locking you into their little kingdom, we want to have a common currency and invisible borders. So you can hop across modes easily.
Having deep support for ALL the modes requires neutrality. Which is why Transit is building an open, neutral platform that supports multiple modes, multiple operators, and multiple ticketing providers. We’re launching ticketing support for more Masabi partners, but are actively working with agencies who use different ticketing vendors, too.
Token Transit — you’re up next. 🤙🌞
Today if you live in a big city like New York or Toronto, you can easily plan a trip — even if it spans the entire metropolitan region. From the devilish depths of New Jersey to the sandy shores of Long Island. The outer-hedges of Hamilton to suburban Scarborough. Thanks to standardized transit data and real-time APIs, super commuters can easily plan a trip (despite the fact that several agencies are involved.)
But why just transit planning? Why not transit payments too? Why is there still so much friction, so many clunky machines, so many apps required to get from a-to-b? We strongly believe that the bigger burden you place on riders, the more likely they are to take a car. Creating a real-time, multi-modal trip planner is a great start, but simplified payments are an obvious next step.
Transit payments require more than a nice app (👋) or a nice ticketing provider (like Masabi). They also need forward-thinking agency partners who are willing to make big, bold bets on the rider experience — empowering their riders with multi-agency, multi-modal, multi-purpose mobility apps in lieu of apps that only work for one agency, one mode, and one function.
We’ve found that partner in St. Catharines — they’re a first-class team and consistently punch above their weight.
We can’t wait to announce the next agency putting on the green gloves. 🍀