Calgary Transit is moving to mobile ticketing, a new technology challenge!

Calgary Transit looking for a mobile ticketing system Sept. 2018

The city spent five years working with automation solution firm Schneider Electric testing the CONNECT system, but technical issues caused the city to finally cancel the contract.

The revival of a potential mobile ticketing app comes two years after the city canceled CONNECT, a card-based system that would have allowed Calgarian’s to do away with exact change or cash for bus fares.

“[Calgary Transit] is seeking a Mobile Ticketing Solution (MTS) that will allow customers the option of self-service for the provisioning of transit fare products through a mobile application,” a statement on the website read.

MyFare Mobile Ticketing System

Calgary Transit

From June to September 2019, we tested My Fare, a mobile payment system that will provide additional options for buying and displaying transit fares. The test went well, and now we’re entering the next phase of developing the system. Stay tuned for updates.

Reasons Why Public Transport is Not Moving to Mobile Ticketing?

Mobile phones are so popular nowadays, so why don’t transit agencies around the world decide to move to mobile ticketing?

The reason is stemmed from the availability of a technology that can support most of the smartphone and have a fast transaction speed like the legacy smart card. Here the two popular technologies and their problem:

1) NFC based (Near Field Communication)

NFC is the technology used in the legacy smart card for automatic fare collection (AFC). By incorporating an NFC chip inside a smartphone can enable the smartphone to be used as a legacy smart card.

With the launch of Apple Pay, NFC based payment in 2014, people believe that NFC will be the ultimate solution for AFC.

However, on the Android side of the smartphone, NFC is getting unpopular especially for the high volume low-end smartphone under US$ 200. This is a major setback for NFC is a solution for fare collection.

2) QR Code-based

With the popularity of 2 payment giants in China, Wechat Pay, and Alipay, the QR code-based payment method suddenly gain popularity in China as well as in Asia.

QR code payment method is available for all smartphones (IOS and Android OS). Unlike NFC based payment, QR code-based is an online payment system that requires server verification for the transaction. The transaction time will take more than 3 seconds. This speed is not acceptable for public transportation, especially for busy cities.

In China, there is a work-a-round using off-line based QR code payment by trusting that the user will have sufficient funding. This is workable in China because all smartphone users have to register their name and personal information and get verified. However, it won’t work in most of the countries in the West due to the privacy act.


Calgary Transit is moving in the right direction for a mobile transit payment.

“Convenience, security, and reliability are the priorities of the system”, Calgary Transit.

But hope that the system is designed to handle high transaction traffic during the rush hours when Calgarians go to work.

The mobile ticketing failure for Oilers at the Rogers Place is a good lesson to learn.

The author has over 19 years of experience in the automated fare collection industry. The latest development of mobile wallets is worth looking into. To learn more, please visit

GetMeThere App won’t open! #Manchester #Metrolink

GetMeThere App won’t open!

Got 4.3 Stars Ratings on IOS App Store

However, it does not show the total number of reviews.

Got only 1.7 Stars Rating on Android

It has 2,000 plus reviews to show that the App has problems connecting to the server.

Similar Problems reported on various forums

Have never had any problems before but this weekend it started refusing to open, not sure if its a problem with my phone (although it’s pretty new so shouldn’t be) Luckily the inspectors let me show my proof of purchase email instead.


Possible Caused of the Problem

Getmethere App requires a server connection to obtain a ticket. When the server is busy or the Internet bandwidth is on high demand during peak hours when passengers go to work in the morning, the user may experience different problems such as with content is not loading or unable to open up the App.

More Andriod users reporting more problems than iPhone users simply because more people use Android phones than expensive iPhones nowadays.

Possibly Resolution

Public transportation for big cities like Manchester with tens of thousands of people using them every day. Speed is the utmost important parameter. The tickets on the Getmethere App should be stored off-line instead of on-line after purchased. The usage of a ticket should be deducted off-line to avoid dependence on the Internet connection and the availability of the server.

Like the Getmethere smart card, the value deduction and the validation are done off-line and therefore, there are not many complaints heard.

Getmethere App should look for mobile technologies which are an off-line based like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or some new technologies. To learn more, please visit

Chicago’s route to a cardless transit payment system, $500m!


In 2013, it launched the Ventra card, a digital account-based contactless card for subways and buses. Customers could tap a Ventra card to pay for purchases and use it as a debit card.

In November 2015, the city launched the Ventra app, which allowed riders to buy passes or add credit for bus or subway rides, and purchase mobile tickets for commuter rail. Single-fare trips can currently be paid for through mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, and customers may also use contactless credit and debit cards of their own.

While the Ventra card value can be added from within the app, the physical card is still currently needed to access transit. The city is now working on a virtual Ventra card that would operate within an NFC-capable smartphone — a shift that would allow transit riders to tap their phones before getting on trains and buses.

The commuter of the future will hold out a smartphone to get on a train or bus without worrying about losing a transit card or lining up to reload.

You can get the big systems integrators interested in Chicago, but they may not be interested in a smaller city — it wouldn’t be commercially viable for them.

Key Stats of Ventra

as of June 2018

  • Over 1 billion transactions processed on Ventra
  • Over 5 million active Ventra accounts
  • 6.7 million Ventra cards issued  
  • App sales at 22% of all Ventra sales, including Metra
  • $76 million; 3.2 million transactions in Ventra mobile app sales


The Chicago Transit Authority faced a dilemma with its 20-year-old fare payment system. Not only did obsolescence issues make it difficult and costly to maintain. The city is planning to move toward an account-based open payment system in addition to a mobile-based system.

Why the authority wants to invest a large amount of money and to giveaway the profitable and growing fare collection business to Visa, Master Card, Apple Pay,…?

Why not spend the money to develop its own account-based payment, mobile-based payment or to develop the most profitable local vertical market like retail, event ticketing for Chicago city?

The latest mobile technology for automatic fare collection can be the answer for Chicago, to learn more please visit