Veolia Transportation has rolled out its “GoMobile” fare payment app on the NICE bus system on Long Island, making NICE the first bus-only U.S. transit system to offer smartphone-based mobile ticketing.
The app enables passengers to purchase, store and use tickets with a smart-phone app, which greatly increases their convenience. Upon boarding, riders display to the bus operator a secure, visually verifiable ticket on their smartphone. Veolia partnered with Masabi to bring smartphone ticketing to NICE bus riders. The app is available for both iPhone and Android.
NICE is a public-private operating partnership between Nassau County and Veolia Transportation. Veolia manages all aspects of the transit system under contract to the county, effectively serving as the transit agency.
“Mobile ticketing is really taking off in the U.S. and NICE is excited to be at the forefront in bus transit. In the coming months, we look forward to rolling out additional technology initiatives that will help transform transit in Nassau County,” said Michael Setzer, NICE CEO and VP of Veolia Transportation. “Over the decades, fare collection for Nassau’s County’s buses has evolved, however, one area that has not changed much is cash payments. With GoMobile, we’re taking a big step to improve that situation.”
Prior to GoMobile, NICE riders had limited payment options: passengers could either pay with correct change on the bus or use the MTA-issued MetroCard. However, there is only one location in Nassau County with full-service vending machines for MetroCard, and a limited number of resellers. The mobile fare app will thus make getting tickets much easier for many passengers. NICE will continue to accept cash and MetroCards.
The new system features an open architecture that allows for the development of new apps, including ones that will allow riders to plan their trips with information available on their smart phones and other devices.
NICE’s commitment is to move quickly to innovate and capitalize on today’s technology to better serve its customers. Mobile ticketing is the first step in NICE’s evolution. The next key step is a multi-format reader that NICE is currently testing on one vehicle, which NICE will test on several units over the summer. These readers are format agnostic; they are capable of accepting barcodes, contactless bank cards, proximity smartcards (e.g. student or Employer ID cards), and emerging payment technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy.
“Our hope, in terms of the future of fare payment, is that customers will be able to use what is already in their pocket at the bus stop or train stop,” said Joshua Robin, Masabi vice president.
Another key aspect of NICE’s technology evolution is the NICE Integrated System (NIS) which Veolia expects to roll out later this year on the Nassau County fleet. It is a comprehensive, advanced GPS-based intelligent transportation system that will offer numerous integrated features designed to improve the rider experience and enhance operational performance. NIS offers many monitoring and control features that will make it possible to improve system performance, such as improving on-time performance, relieving overcrowding and bunching of buses, and detecting maintenance issues and bus breakdowns. The new system features an open architecture that allows for the development of real-time tracking apps, which will also be included in future versions of GoMobile.