Portland becomes first U.S. city allowing riders to buy transit tickets with a smartphone

globesherpaStarting next Wednesday in Portland, public transit riders can say goodbye to paper tickets and hello to proof of payment via your smartphone.

TriMet, Oregon’s largest provider of bus, light rail and commuter rail transit services, will debut its new e-ticket app next week. Essentially, the free app eliminates the need to purchase paper tickets from a machine and allows you to easily buy transit fares using your Android device or iPhone.

Portland is the first city in the U.S. to implement this system-wide. Places like Boston and New Jersey have implemented similar mobile ticketing tools, but for just one mode of transportation at a time.

The app was built by GlobeSherpa, a Portland-based provider of secure mobile ticketing software and services that landed a $1.3 million round led by The Oregon Angel Fund in March.

TriMet told The Oregonian that it expects this new app to save the agency millions due to reduced transaction costs and elimination of ticket machine maintenance. GlobeSherpa also implemented a security feature on the app that allows Tri-Met officials to easily validate tickets.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include information about Portland’s title as the first city in the U.S. to implement a mobile ticketing feature system-wide. 

  • sct

    Not true. The MBTA in Boston has had a smartphone app for purchasing commuter rail tickets for about three months now.

    • Taylor Soper

      Hi there, as I noted at the bottom of the article, Portland is the first city to implement mobile ticketing system-wide. There are other cities that have this feature, but launched it for separate entities like bus or train lines.

  • joshmahar

    “TriMet told The Oregonian that
    it expects this new app to save the agency millions due to reduced
    transaction costs and elimination of ticket
    machine maintenance.”

    I’ll be interested to hear a follow up on this. For accessibility it seems they won’t actually be able to eliminate any of the current payment systems so I’m not sure where all these savings are going to come from.

    • cmc

      The savings are coming from that fact that GlobeSherpa charges less per transaction/ticket than their current solution, for the most part.

    • cmc

      The savings are coming from that fact that GlobeSherpa charges less per transaction/ticket than their current solution, for the most part.