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5 years of mobile ticketing in Canada

We've come a long way in half a decade

May 8, 2023

Back in 2018 we asked: What if Transit didn’t just track the bus? What if riders could buy passes, too?

No one in North America did anything like it until we launched with St. Catharines, Ontario. Soon after, we got mobile ticketing up and running (often in a matter of weeks) with agencies across Canada.

Now 1 in 8 Canadian riders opens Transit on an average day. In five years they’ve purchased $8 million worth of fares and counting, thanks to our collaboration with mobile ticketing partners like Bytemark, Masabi, Paragon ID, and Token Transit.

Take a look at how transit systems across Canada have worked with Transit to make mobile payments a core part of their digital rider experience.

St. Catharines was where it all began — not just in Canada, but anywhere. Transit worked closely with the agency to develop a first-of-its-kind integration of mobile ticketing and real-time trip planning. In 2022, Niagara Region brought all local transit services into a single provider, Niagara Region Transit. Now, Transit supports not just fare payments for the entire region, but also microtransit integrations — and the app has become a core part of the rider experience. After a pilot program launch in 2018, fare purchases in Transit grew from $1,000 during the full month of April 2019 to now over $500,000 in sales per month across the entire Niagara Region.

Calgary Transit was seeking a partner for its Mobility-as-a-Service initiative, bringing together separate trip planning, microtransit, and My Fare mobile ticketing apps along with connecting options like carshare and e-scooters. Transit had previously been a long-term partner to Calgary Transit, developing its agency-branded trip planning app. Beginning in 2022, we were able to create a unified experience for Calgary Transit riders. Transit is used by more than 150,000 riders in Calgary every month, and will even integrate the ability to sign in using the city’s myID centralized municipal services account for residents to purchase monthly passes beginning in June 2023.

Saskatoon Transit made mobile ticketing the first step of a digital transformation of its service. After launching TGo mobile ticketing with Transit in 2021, Saskatoon Transit launched OnDemand Transit the following year, adding a new service that not only connects with fixed-route lines but is also integrated into Transit’s trip planner and TGo fare payment system. Saskatoon Transit has also improved its real-time communication with riders through Transit, thanks to improvements to its service alert systems. “Real-time mobile apps like Transit are our best form of direct communication, providing relevant information when riders need it”, Mike Moellenbeck, Operations Manager of Saskatoon Transit told CUTA’s Forum magazine.

L’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) is the regional body responsible for planning, organizing, financing and promoting public transit in Greater Montreal. When the pandemic hit, the ARTM launched a mobile ticketing demonstration project (and a new fare product, the Titre bus — sans contact) with Transit to encourage more ridership of the bus network operated by the STM, STL, RTL and exo. In just a few months, the system was up and running. Riders no longer had to find a métro station or authorized retailer to purchase fares. It was a hit: more than 700,000 single-ride fares were purchased with Transit, most of which were activated within minutes. (Who says public transit can’t be an impulse buy?) The rapid deployment of mobile ticketing in Quebec was repeated in 2023 farther down the fleuve when Rimouski launched mobile ticketing, as well.

The popularity of mobile ticketing has spread south of the border, too. Now, more than 65 transit systems across Canada and the US offer mobile ticketing with Transit.

Is your city next?

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