San Francisco Bay Ferry Releases Mobile Ticketing App

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority this week unveiled a mobile ticketing solution, giving passengers a simple way to purchase San Francisco Bay Ferry tickets and board using their phones.

by Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, Times-Herald / November 8, 2018

(TNS) — San Francisco Bay Area ferry riders can now skip the ticket line and use their phone as a boarding pass, ferry officials announced.

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) this week, unveiled its mobile ticketing solution with partner, Hopthru, giving passengers a simple method to purchase San Francisco Bay Ferry tickets and board using their phones, they said.

Passengers can use the Hopthru app to buy tickets for any of San Francisco Bay Ferry’s four regular routes right from their Apple or Android devices. This provides a third way to purchase tickets, in addition to obtaining paper tickets and using a Clipper card, officials said.

Passengers can download the Hopthru app in their device’s app store or can receive a download link by texting “hopthru” to 43506. After signing up, they are prompted to select their transit agency, rider type and ticket type, then complete their purchase, they said.

Once a rider is ready to show their proof of ticket, they can activate their pass and then present it to the deckhand, officials said. Purchased passes can be activated at any time with or without internet connection, enabling riders to travel without having to worry about keeping a cell signal, they said.

If, however, your phone dies before you get the chance to show your ticket, officials will not take your word for it, ferry spokesman Thomas Hall said.

“Having a working phone that can display the ticket is a requirement. There are no refunds in such a case,” he said. On the other hand, senior and youth discounts are available on the app, though you may be asked to prove you qualify, Hall said.

Discounts that are ordinarily available are also available through the app: for those 65 or older, age 5 to 18 and disabled, with proof, like a Medicare card, or a DMV disabled parking placard registration. Children under 5 are still free, he said.

“We’re confident this will be a big convenience for folks,” he said. “Quicker boarding, shorter lines at the ticket office,… we’re trying to make it easy for folks. Hopthru has been really helpful in getting us launched fairly quickly.”

The WETA board approved the partnership in August and the site launched 2 ½ months later, he said.

“We went live last week, and it’s working well. From what we’ve heard, it’s gone pretty smoothly,” Hall said, adding that this is not a new concept.

“You see this with all sorts of services, and it’s coming to transit in a big way,” he said. “Napa’s Vine transit uses this also.”

Ferry officials said they expect the new app will mostly be used by less frequent passengers, since regular commuters get a better deal with their Clipper cards, Hall said.

“We are excited to offer this technology to our passengers,” WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells said. “Hopthru will improve the time it takes to board, decrease WETA’s operating costs and reduce waste from paper tickets.”

Hopthru is a San Francisco-based mobile ticketing platform for public transit agencies. It’s available for use with transit agencies in Washington, Oregon, California and Michigan with agencies in more states coming on board soon, officials said.

Hopthru will receive a commission on tickets sold through its app, though that will have no impact on ticket prices, Hall said.

©2018 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.