Creators of a free smartphone app, which is already used locally to help CARTA riders plan their trips, have now partnered with Bike Chattanooga in an effort to make the bike share process easier and more efficient.
Without the app, a rider generally uses the kiosk to get a release code and unlock a docket bike. But with the new unlock and pay feature on the Transit App, customers have the option to skip the kiosk and purchase a day pass via the app.
“This new feature of the Transit App will provide riders with an efficient and fast way to unlock a bike and go,” Bike Chattanooga assistant managerJoannah Burkhardt said in a prepared statement. “Adding to the already useful features of the app, this is just another way to help locals and visitors plan their trips around town.”
Transit App’s director of strategy and development, Jake Sion, said via emailthat the product provides added value for users in two ways.
He said the app helps eliminate the “often-painful experience of using bike share kiosks.”
Lines can be long, touch screens can be unresponsive, and casual riders-who don’t have passes-end up needing to revisit kiosks multiple times and reusing their credit cards each time, he said.
But the app allows all that to be done on a smartphone.
“Second, thousands of people across Chattanooga already use Transit App for information about public transit, bike share and Uber,” he said. “Rather than making them download a new app, learn a new interface and create a new account, riders can simply continue using an app they already know and enjoy.”
The same pricing structure still applies when using the Transit App, which includes unlimited 60-minute station-to-station trips for both annual and casual users. Trips lasting more than 60 minutes incur overage charges, according to a news release.
Transit App launched inMontreal in 2012 as a tool to give commuters the simplest possible access to transit schedules, Sion said.
“At the time, other apps were great for trip planning, like Google Maps, but nothing came close to the simplicity of the posted timetable for the daily commuter,” he said. “In comparison, our app geolocalized users and immediately showed them nearby departures in big text and bright colors.”
Fast-forward to 2014, when a “grassroots campaign” started in Chattanooga to get Transit App access here. The app’s site has a wish list that allows people to “upvote” cities they want to see added. Chattanooga quickly jumped to the top of the list, and CARTA riders were soon able to check real-time departments, view route itineraries, browse schedules and plan trips,Sion said.
“The app originally was available only in Montreal, Toronto and Quebec,” Sion said.“Today, we are in 125 cities in nine countries around the globe, and we’re the leading urban transport app in North America. We’ve also broaden[ed] our app to support the full spectrum of sustainable urban mobility, including integrations of shared transport services like Uber, bike share and car share.”