Transit launches subscription-based Royale

Aug. 19, 2021
The $24.99 per year option will be available in cities where Transit does not have an existing partnership with a transit agency and will roll out to partner agencies in 2022.

Transit has introduced a subscription option to its app-based services called Royale. Transit Royale will be available in cities where the company does not have a partnership with the local transit agency.

The $24.99 per year or $4.99 per month subscription will give users access to full schedules and maps for transit lines that are farther away and subscribers will see extra features and customization options such as special app themes and icons inspired by transit systems around the world, a custom avatar and nickname. However, core features of Transit’s app including next departures, trip planning, mobile ticketing and multimodal integrations will remain free for all users.

“Almost a decade ago, I started Transit with my co-founder Guillaume [Campagna]. We didn’t follow the path of some other transportation apps, which rely on selling personal data, running ads or competing against public transit. Instead, we built an app that puts transit riders first,” said Sam Vermette, CEO of Transit. “Now with Royale, we’re launching a model that’s supported by both users and partner transit agencies. It means we can keep building an app that stays true to riders over the long term.”

In a blog post further explaining the move to a subscription model, Vermette and Campagna called the introduction of Transit Royale the “culmination of endless tinkering” all aimed at developing a sustainable business that allows Transit the freedom to continue to develop and enhance the usefulness of the app without straying from the company’s values.

The founders also recognized the move to the pay-for model will not make everyone happy.

“We spent long nights trying to find a delicate balance of what were ‘essential’ features, and what were ‘bonus’ ones worth paying for. What price would be sustainable for us, yet reasonable for our users,” explained Vermette and Campagna.

Transit tested Royale with more than 300,000 app users in 16 cities worldwide and reports positive user feedback along with subscriber numbers that exceeded expectations.

For riders who can not afford the $24.99 per year or $4.99 per month price, Transit says a “no questions asked” free subscription can be requested within the app.

Transit Royale will launch in cities with partner transit agencies in 2022, including Regional Transportation District in Denver, Colo., Metro Transit in St. Louis, Mo., Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, Calif., Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, Ohio, (RTA) and Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RTS) in New York.

Partner transit agencies have the option to gift Royale to their riders and agencies that subscribe to Royale also get access to a branded app experience, where riders can customize the app icon and colors to match their local agency’s branding.

Greater Dayton RTA Chief Customer and Business Development Officer Brandon Policicchio says one in three riders on the system use the Transit app to plan and pay for their trip each day.

“Our relationship with Transit has made it possible for us to offer our passengers everything they need to ride with the top-rated app. We’re excited for this new chapter and look forward to providing Royale for our customers,” said Policicchio.

RTS CEO Bill Carpenter says the app helps keep RTS riders on the leading edge of technology with mobile fare payments and real-time information.

“We enjoy our partnership with Transit because they help us serve our customers well. RTS thanks Transit for their support and we look forward to working with them as they introduce Royale and help us improve the experience for our customers,” said Carpenter.

Providing a customer centric platform is also a key benefit to RTD and Big Blue Bus, which will also be among the first transit agency partners to provide Transit Royale to riders.

“I speak for all of my RTD colleagues when I say that we are happy to continue collaborating with the team at Transit,” said Tonya Anderson, senior product manager of Electronic Fare Operations at RTD. “This important project will serve our customers well. Transit has been a key partner, and they are hyper-focused on improving the transit experience for the people of our region and around the world.”

Ed King, Department of Transportation director with the city of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, added, “Our partnership with Transit has enabled us to provide a customer-focused, best in class mobile experience for our riders. We are excited to partner on the launch of Royale and make these new features available at no cost to customers. These innovative enhancements will improve the user experience and allow customers to continue making informed choices as they navigate Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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