TriMet partners with startup to build ticket apps

TriMet partners with startup to build ticket apps
Photos courtesy of TriMet.

PORTLAND, Ore. - TriMet riders will soon be able to buy tickets with their smartphones.

Portland's transit organization is partnering with local software startup GlobeSherpa to launch mobile ticket applications for both the iPhone and Android-based cell phones. It will be called TransitSherpa.

"We're delighted to be working with TriMet to power their new mobile ticketing service," Nat Parker, CEO of GlobeSherpa, said in a news release. "Smartphone applications that leverage open data have transformed the transit sector. We're taking that innovation even further by allowing users to buy tickets, with no exact change or ticket vending machines required."

Testing will begin in the next few months and a beta is expected by January. At that point, TriMet will recruit some riders to test the applications. A full public launch is expected by spring.

The TransitSherpa applications will be free for download and then users would register a debit or credit card with the secure system.

This is the second big change TriMet has made in the past month. Just a few weeks ago TriMet switched to 'go anywhere' fares to simplify its ticket system. TriMet is also hoping to implement a smart card system sometime in the future. Other transit agencies in the U.S. already use electronic fares and TriMet is looking closely at how it all works.