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portlandstreetcarFirst it was trains and busses. Now, the Rose City is allowing its streetcar riders to purchase tickets with their smartphones.

Portland, Ore., became the first U.S. city to enable mobile ticketing on a streetcar operation today, as Portland Streetcar debuted its mobile app “PDX Streetcar Mobile Tickets” on iOS and Android. 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.

You simply download the app, enter in credit card information and select fare type and quantity. You are required to purchase at least $5 in tickets even though a ride only costs $1, so you’ll be left with some extra Streetcar tickets if you use the app.

TriMet, Oregon’s largest provider of bus, light rail and commuter rail transit services, debuted a similar app a few weeks ago. Portland Streetcar allows you to use TriMet tickets on its service, but it does not work the other way around (Streetcar tickets are not valid on TriMet rides).

GlobeSherpa, the Portland-based provider of secure mobile ticketing software and services, developed the Streetcar app. The company also worked on Tri-Met’s app, hence the similarities in design and functionality.

I’d love to see GlobeSherpa work with the City of Seattle to implement this in the Emerald City, and especially because Mayor Mike McGinn recently announced that he wants to add a third streetcar line to the city.

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