The largest transit provider in Oregon, TriMet, has released an app that allows bus and light rail users to buy tickets via smartphone. Now in use by a group of 150 beta testers, TriMet will make the app available to the general public this summer.

The e-ticketing app comes from GlobeSherpa, a Portland company that offers mobile ticketing software and services. According to a story in The Oregonian, TriMet officials said they expect the app to save millions of dollars on transaction costs and ticket machine maintenance.

"We're trying to move to an electronic fare system for the entire transit agency," Chris Tucker, TriMet's manager of fare revenue services told The Oregonian. "This is one of the first steps to move people away from the old paper system."

Of the agency's 330,000 riders, TriMet estimates that 50 percent own smartphones. Once the app is downloaded, users will enter payment information one time, and then pay for fares -- monthly, daily or single use -- with a minimum value of $5. The app is available for iOS and Android operating systems.

Photo of Portland Light Rail by David Kidd.