Are you using the TriMet Tickets app? Plan to purchase a new phone this holiday season? Make sure to recall your tickets from your old phone to your online account first, so you don’t accidentally lose any tickets.
Your tickets are stored on your phone (which makes it possible to use them without an Internet connection), so you’ll need to transfer your tickets from your phone onto your online account before shutting off the network connection to your old phone. Here’s how to recall your tickets:
Go to the “My Account” tab, then to “My Tickets” and click the “Recall Tickets” button.
On your old device, go to the “My Tickets” tab and refresh. You should see your tickets moved.
When you get your new phone, open up your TriMet Tickets app and sign in.
Go to the “My Tickets” tab and refresh to download your tickets.
Note: We recently added the ability to recall or move active multi-day tickets—such as 7-Day, 14-Day and 30-Day tickets—from your phone to your account and back again. (In the past, only unused tickets could be moved.) Active tickets can be transferred to your account and back to the phone one time.
If you experience any problems during your upgrade, please contact the TriMet Tickets Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!
John Canfield is the Founder of Nimbler and the VP of Risk Management at WePay. John previously worked at eBay, Zip2 and Creative Labs. John has a masters degree in electrical engineering from MIT and an MBA from Stanford.
I have been in the high-tech industry my whole career, working in start-ups and large tech companies. Over the years, the hot areas of innovation have shifted from the computers themselves, to packaged software, to the Internet, to mobile devices.
But I never heard people talking about transportation being a hot area of innovation until this last year.
Millennials are leading us away from the car-dominated America of past generations. They are looking for options. Start-ups and established players are offering an array new services — carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, and transportation apps of every sort.
Transit agencies are offering real-time arrival times so riders can find the best route and get there with a minimum of waiting. Uber, a five-year old start-up, just was valued at $18 billion — one of the highest private valuations ever. Venture capitalists around the world are taking notice.
The Portland area plays a special part in this transportation innovation. In 2005, an engineer at Google started working on a skunkworks project to build transit directions into Google Maps.
The big problem was where to get the data. Transit agencies had schedule data in proprietary systems that varied widely from agency to agency. Even if the data were technically accessible, many transit agencies did not want to publish it for free.
TriMet had a different approach. They proactively reached out to Google looking to partner. The result was the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), which is used to communicate schedule data.
Google launched its transit directions in Portland first. Now, Google and other apps offer transit directions around the world using GTFS.
TriMet also innovated by investing in open-source trip planning. Traditionally, when transit agencies wanted a trip planner for their website, they worked with private software companies to build one just for their agency. TriMet instead started a project in 2009 with OpenPlans to build an Open Trip Planner for the Portland area that combines bike and transit directions.
The start-up I founded, Nimbler, just introduced its fourth transit app: Nimbler Portland. At the heart of Nimbler’s routing lies Open Trip Planner and GTFS. Nimbler offers transit directions, bike directions and combinations of the two. Nimbler also integrates with TriMet’s real-time vehicle location feed to provide real-time arrival predictions that minimize wait time.
Without the innovative approach of TriMet working with Google, OpenPlans and Open Street Maps, apps like Nimbler would not be possible. Because of TriMet’s leadership, apps around the world are benefiting and innovating using open source and open data for transportation.
Have you visited our App Center lately? We just added nine new apps for riders, all created by independent programmers using our open data. Thanks to these developers, TriMet riders have a variety of helpful trip tools available to help make their transit trips easier.
Check out the latest apps, all of which are free of charge:
Nimbler: Searches for nearest stops, provides arrival information, displays a map and vehicles on map. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
RideScout: Plans and compares transportation options. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Acehopper: Provides schedules and real-time information. For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Walk Score: Provides transit scores and locates walkable apartments near public transit. For web browsers
Note: These aren’t “official” TriMet products, so we don’t endorse, warrant or support any of the applications listed here. We tested them initially to make sure they work, but they are provided as-is.
I have worked in TriMet’s Information Technology Department since 1997 and currently lead a team of innovative web developers and analysts as the IT Manager of Geographic Information Systems and Location-Based Services. I lead several open data and open source software initiatives including opentripplanner.org, maps.trimet.org, rtp.trimet.org, developer.trimet.org, trimet.org/apps. After initiating collaboration with Google for the first release of Google Transit, I helped pioneer the now worldwide standard General Transit Feed Spec (GTFS). I received my degree in Geography from the University of Kansas.
It already does a decent job of telling you if your bus is running late. Now, when the bus is notcoming at all for some reason, TransitTracker can let you know.
Starting Monday, May 19, you’ll notice TransitTracker reporting some arrivals as “canceled.” We’re testing a feature of our new bus dispatch system that should make TransitTracker a lot more reliable when it comes to reporting canceled buses.
It’s important to know if the bus isn’t coming so you can decide if you want to wait, catch another bus or make other plans. This was the number one request from riders in a recent survey about how they use TransitTracker. (Thanks again to everyone who weighed in!)
Why would a bus be canceled? Construction, mechanical problems, accidents, weather conditions and other issues can result in a bus trip—or part of a trip—being canceled. That means some or all of the stops on the route won’t be served.
Until now, when a bus was canceled, TransitTracker would typically show a scheduled time (“2:45 p.m.”) instead of a countdown (“4 min”). That’s what the system does when there’s not enough data to predict an arrival time. But this is misleading because it implies that the bus is going to arrive atthat specific time.
In other cases, TransitTracker would show an arrival countdown even though the bus trip had been canceled. After Due had come and gone, you’d wonder, “Did the bus just disappear?”
This is the phenomenon many riders know as “ghost buses.” And it’s particularly frustrating when you’ve been waiting at the stop for a while, only to find out your bus has… well, vanished!
Thankfully, our new bus dispatch system can identify canceled trips and pass that information along to TransitTracker. Now that we can flag those no-shows as “canceled,” there should be far fewer instances of ghost buses, and more reliable arrival information overall. (Note: This won’t get rid of all ghost buses, or any ghost trains for that matter. We expect to address those in future upgrades.)
This is a small but important improvement that we hope will make your life a little easier. We’d like your feedback, too. If you notice any issues with the new canceled-bus notices, or if you have any other comments about TransitTracker, please let us know at email@example.com.
I'm TriMet’s manager of marketing and rider communications. I oversee the agency's web and mobile initiatives and help build useful and usable online tools for riders. I also moonlight as a musician in my spare time.
If the numbers are any indication, TriMet riders are decidedly “on board” with the idea of paying their fare with their phones! As of today, our new TriMet Tickets app for Android and iPhone has been downloaded more than 38,000 times, and we’re seeing anywhere from 300 to 350 new downloads each day.
Why is mobile ticketing so appealing? For one, with no paper tickets to keep track of, boarding the bus or train is a breeze… Tickets can be stored for future use, and of course you can buy your fare whenever and wherever you want.
I’ve spoken with many riders about their experiences with the app, most of whom give it an enthusiastic “thumbs up.”
However, since the TriMet Tickets app launched September 4th, we’ve also heard from a number of riders about issues ranging from occasional app freezes or slow response to crashes or even lost tickets.
Some of these problems are minor bugs that either have been fixed or will be fixed in the next version of the app. Others are larger issues that will take longer to resolve. We definitely want your mobile ticketing experience to be a good one, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any feedback as we work out the kinks with this new tech. (This is one of the first ticketing apps of its kind, after all!)
In the meantime, if you’re using the app, or considering downloading it, here are some tips and important reminders to get you started:
Activate your ticket before boarding. If you’re at a MAX station where fares are required, make sure you activate your ticket (by tapping the “Use” button) before entering the station area. Otherwise, activate your ticket when you see your bus or train approaching.
Watch your battery level… Just like with paper tickets, you’re responsible for making sure you have a valid fare at all times. It’s a good idea to carry a few paper tickets as a back-up just in case you find yourself with a dead battery.
A $5 minimum?! Yes, the payment processor’s cost structure is what’s driving the $5 minimum purchase, to avoid extra additional service charges. Sorry! But remember: You don’t have to use your tickets immediately. You can purchase two 2-Hour Tickets and use them any time you want. Regardless, we realize the $5 minimum doesn’t sit well with riders, so we’re looking at all our options as we continue to improve the app.
Avoiding “lost” tickets
Some riders noticed that their tickets had disappeared after either reinstalling the app or upgrading their phone. Here’s how you can avoid losing your tickets:
Don’t uninstall the TriMet Tickets app or erase your phone without transferring your unused tickets first. Your tickets are stored on your phone (which makes it possible to use them without an internet connection), so uninstalling the app can permanently erase your tickets!
Create an account before purchasing tickets, as this is the only way you can transfer your unused tickets if you get a new phone later on. (Note: Only unused tickets can be transferred.)
More than half the population owns a smartphone these days, and mobile payments are gaining popularity in the U.S. We expect many more riders will be making the switch from paper tickets in the near future. With your help, we’ll continue to improve the app and make it as useful as possible. If we can make things easier for riders, and make our operations more efficient in the process, it really is a winning solution!
Looking ahead a few years, the TriMet Tickets app is the first step toward an electronic “contactless” fare system, where you’ll be able to pay instantly with your phone, contactless debit/credit card or fare card, by simply tapping on a sensor as you board. Watch for updates about electronic fares and how you can get involved. We expect to begin testing that system with riders in 2016.
As TriMet’s Director of Revenue Operations, I lead the agency’s efforts to modernize our fare collection systems, provide excellent service as we efficiently sell fares, and collect and process the revenue while maintaining reliable and easy-to-use equipment. I earned my MBA in 2009, and have 15 years experience managing finance activities. Six of those years were managing many aspects of TriMet’s fare programs, and nine years managing finance functions at a Fortune 500 company.
Someone at TriMet had the foresight eight years ago to realize that most of us would become umbilically connected to our smartphones… And that there was a whole community of open source developers here in the Portland area willing and able to “show off their stuff” by developing useful applications using data supplied by TriMet… And that these developers would do the work for free! Amazing.
How could they have known?
I have no idea, but the results were astounding. Rather than paying in-house developers, or hiring expensive consultants to develop apps, TriMet simply made its schedule and arrival data available to anyone willing to sign up. The developers did the rest, pretty much on their own, with occasional support for the folks at TriMet.
I shudder to think how much it would have cost TriMet to develop nearly 60 unique transit applications. In fact, I don’t think TriMet could have purchased the kind of creativity exhibited in these apps at any price. There’s a difference between work done for money and work done for love. And trust me, these developers work because they love what they do.
When I developed myTriMet.com, my objective was to create something simple and reliable just for me. Lots of other folks use it, but it was created for my particular commuting situation.
Each new app builds on existing ideas. That’s the beauty of open source development: Developers share ideas. The focus is on the end product.
Fast-forward 5 years. I still use my app at least twice a day, both on my desktop and my iPhone. But in all candor, my app was quickly eclipsed by other developers going beyond simple arrival information. Each new app builds on existing ideas. That’s the beauty of open source development: Developers share ideas. The focus is on the end product.
I attended the INIT TriMet Open Data Series last Wednesday and learned about all kinds of cool things that might happen as a result of TriMet’s recent upgrade to INIT equipment (for tracking its fleet of buses). For example, we may soon see apps that:
tell riders how full the arriving bus is and perhaps advise them to wait for the next bus
tell riders a bus is going to skip a stop because it’s full
give riders historical arrival information for a given stop so they can choose which stops to use
I’m sure we’re going to see lots of new map functionality, too, including animated buses moving on a map. And of course, there will be lots of things I can’t even imagine right now.
During the meeting, a representative from INIT added that if a bus has a sensor, they can make the data available. That’s when the brainstorming started… A sensor for bike rack availability? A sensor that tells riders the temperature inside the bus? Crowdsourcing data? Imagine being able to tweet your fellow passengers! Oh boy. Let me have at it.
The sky’s the limit!
Like I said, we’re lucky to live in Portland.
About the author: John McBride is a Portland area resident and daily TriMet commuter who has been living here almost 18 years. Being a New York City transplant, he knows a thing or two about mass transit. John describes himself as a compulsive hacker whose daytime job is crunching numbers for the planning department of a local credit union. He’ll tell you he loves all things “tech”—especially things with bright colors and blinking lights. John developed myTriMet.com, one of the first browser-based transit apps in Portland and winner of the CivicApps for Greater Portland for “Most Useful App.”
About the author: Drew Blevins is TriMet’s Director of Marketing and Customer Information.
More Blue and Red line MAX stations are getting arrival information screens this year, thanks in part to a $180,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
The digital displays, which are already in place at Green Line stations and on the Downtown Portland Transit Mall, show TransitTracker arrival countdowns for buses and trains, as well as service alerts in the case of a major delay or disruption.
Later this summer, crews will begin placing the first of 58 new screens scheduled for installation over the next year. We’re starting with Blue and Red line stations mostly on the west side, including Tuality Hospital/SE 8th, Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport, Orenco/NW 231st, Quatama/NW 205th, Willow Creek/SW 185th TC, Elmonica/SW 170th (eastbound), Merlo/SW 158th, Beaverton Creek, Millikan Way (eastbound), Beaverton TC, Goose Hollow (eastbound and westbound), and Convention Center (eastbound and westbound).
Then, this fall, we’ll start adding screens to eastside stations from E 102nd Ave MAX Station to Gresham Central Transit Center.
Green, Yellow and some Red Line MAX stations already have some kind of arrival display (either flatscreen monitors or reader boards). Within about two years, all MAX stations will be outfitted with screens so you have access to service information at-a-glance.
I am TriMet's Director of Marketing and Customer Information. I manage the agency's customer information services through an integrated approach to retaining and increasing customers by positioning our transit system as simple to understand, easy to use, reliable, innovative and friendly. Our team is responsible for outreach and promotion, customer research, creative services, websites and interactive media, and on-street service information.