We have been pushing hard to implement on-board ticket sales for our COASTER commuter rail line. We gave ourselves a timeline of less than 6 months to get this accomplished, and I am proud to say that my Project Manager Donna was able to push the tools live right on schedule.
There is of course a difference between the technology being ready, and the company being ready.
Happily, the team has now demonstrated this product successfully across several special events. The adoption rate by customers has been very high even with little publicity. This is one of those technologies whose time has come, and we are very lucky to have a solid business partner Ryan from the company CooCoo to usher these tools in.
Finally, we have the ability for customers to purchase tickets online, to buy onboard the vehicle, and to even receive text and smartphone-based tickets.
For every project there is a downside as well, and in this instance it is that we were unfortunately unable to integrate this with our other ticketing systems. Our tap-card, RFID-based ticket vending machines and validators rely upon a very different technology – one that has to function regardless of whether we have connectivity. The tolerance for failure on these systems is far lower than on a smartphone app.
So this also unfortunately means additional devices that our fare enforcement and security teams have to carry. As if they did not already have a Batman-worthy belt of devices to work with. Inconvenience to our employees always loses to convenience for our customers.
If you are interested in learning more about online ticketing, please check the NCTD website.