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North East Buses Local Bus Scene Bus Operations, Management & Infrastructure
Mobile Apps
#1
Has anyone much experience with any operators' mobile apps or m-Ticketing?

I've started using the Arriva m-Ticket app, simply because their smart-card rollout hasn't reached the North East yet. I use the app on my Android handset, and found it a little buggy at first. An update later though and it's much more stable.

I do find the interface of it really unfriendly, and think it could be dramatically improved. It also doesn't give you any information about the ticket(s) you're about to purchase, so you've got to have a knowledge of the area (or ask somebody) to know what you're buying. For example, someone wanting a Durham ticket would need to know if they need a City, District or County ticket.

The other gripes I have about it is that the time-out for contacting the server is too long, so if you have poor reception, it can take a time-out until your ticket appears on your phone screen. I tend to have to use 'airplane' mode as a workaround for this, to invoke an instant time-out - which is fine as long as your ticket is already activated. Also if you knock the screen, it goes back to your ticket list. A bit of an annoyance when you've got to hold the phone screen to someone else rather than yourself (i.e. showing the driver).

I had used the Go North East m-Ticket app for the first time today. The interface is very user friendly, It's easy to navigate and no fuss to make a purchase. Again though, you need to know exactly what you want in order to make a purchase. Buzzfares, as you'd expect, give the user the option to purchase which colours they need. There is absolutely no indication of which colours serve which areas though, nor is there a zonal map within the application. It'd be something reletavely straight forward to implement, so I don't know why either operator doesn't provide this info within their apps?

On the Go North East m-Ticket app, I also notice I have the ability to go and purchase a Get Around day ticket. At no point does it prompt me that I need a valid smart-card to use a Get Around m-Ticket, nor does it provide this information within the app. It's only after I've searched around, and found this page. A bit of a bizarre decision if you ask me. What's the point of buying an m-Ticket when you could just purchase it on the card you need to carry about anyway?

Moving on to Go North East's 'Key Mobile' app. I've had this pretty much since the launch, and have seen it develop over time. I find it looks and works better on Android rather than iOS. It's very easy to use on both, and provides a lot of information. I assume something is going to be implemented with the 'Good Service' indicators, as it doesn't appear to change regardless of a service being affected?

I understand Arriva have brought a bus app out for iOS too. The Android one is due soon, so I haven't tried this for myself. Has anyone tried it on an iPhone?

Do Stagecoach have any apps? I couldn't seem to find any info of any?
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#2
Picking on a couple of points. I think the reason get around is featured on the app is that you have to wait 48 hours (well you did previously) before you could use your ticket, not ideal when getting on a bus is often unplanned and generally you'll get on sometimes just get a day ticket if your making a few journeys or a return etc. So that was always a barrier when I get Buzzfares on the card. Also key machine readers can break and then what, pay the single fare? I know this affects a fraction of vehicles but it could still always be you. I've pointed out on this very forum when a friend has had to pay the single fare as the key card reader isn't displaying her annual ticket, that's one major problem with me in smart ticketing. As if you buy a day ticket you often won't keep any spare change. I mean smart ticketing, apps/ smartcards, is a great improvement but these issues with technology breaking down isn't good.

I've also noted the fact that anyone could a purchase a get around day ticket on the app and it doesn't prompt, remind or warn that you'll need a get around key card also, not only does that mean that passenger may mistakenly buy one but also that could even confuse kids who may not take their key card and just use their mobile, which wouldn't be vaild.

I have an iPad which I use for apps, I also have a Samsung galaxy S first edition but it's old now and doesn't like downloading apps so I keep most apps on iPad and the Key Mobile app could do with some tweaks, the information is okay but little things like wrong brands, wrong route, showing defunct bus routes could be ironed out. However it is generally a good app. The arriva M-Ticket app I had on my Galaxy S III for a time (until I broke it) wasnt great at all, really confusing and non user friendly even for someone like me who is good with technology. I haven't got the arriva app anymore, so changes may have been made, but if not it needs some real work on it.
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#3
(03/11/2013, 18:25)CatsFast101 Wrote: Picking on a couple of points. I think the reason get around is featured on the app is that you have to wait 48 hours (well you did previously) before you could use your ticket, not ideal when getting on a bus is often unplanned and generally you'll get on sometimes just get a day ticket if your making a few journeys or a return etc. So that was always a barrier when I get Buzzfares on the card. Also key machine readers can break and then what, pay the single fare? I know this affects a fraction of vehicles but it could still always be you. I've pointed out on this very forum when a friend has had to pay the single fare as the key card reader isn't displaying her annual ticket, that's one major problem with me in smart ticketing. As if you buy a day ticket you often won't keep any spare change. I mean smart ticketing, apps/ smartcards, is a great improvement but these issues with technology breaking down isn't good.

I've also noted the fact that anyone could a purchase a get around day ticket on the app and it doesn't prompt, remind or warn that you'll need a get around key card also, not only does that mean that passenger may mistakenly buy one but also that could even confuse kids who may not take their key card and just use their mobile, which wouldn't be vaild.

I have an iPad which I use for apps, I also have a Samsung galaxy S first edition but it's old now and doesn't like downloading apps so I keep most apps on iPad and the Key Mobile app could do with some tweaks, the information is okay but little things like wrong brands, wrong route, showing defunct bus routes could be ironed out. However it is generally a good app. The arriva M-Ticket app I had on my Galaxy S III for a time (until I broke it) wasnt great at all, really confusing and non user friendly even for someone like me who is good with technology. I haven't got the arriva app anymore, so changes may have been made, but if not it needs some real work on it.

I believe after the 1st ticket takes 48 hours, but then you can top up that said ticket on the bus from then on. Understand the cards/readers can sometimes not work, but I'd say the fault tolerance would be the same using a mobile app. I just think it'd surely be a better method of doing things if the Get Around products were an additional entitlement for app users. Then GNE could give someone that entitlement on a per-user basis after their entitlement to purchase such tickets has been validated (i.e. proof of education).
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#4
Used the GNE M-ticket app again today. Have to say it's faultless. It does leave me with a question though!

I notice GNE drivers press something on the ticket machine when you board with an M-ticket. Journey recording I'd assume? I also have a monthly m-ticket with Arriva, and notice they don't seem to record the journey all? I often just stand at the front of the bus and never see anything pressed on the machine.

Does anyone (perhaps drivers) have any light to shed on how these journeys are recorded across all companies that accept mobile tickets?
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#5
(18/11/2013, 01:34)aureolin Wrote: Used the GNE M-ticket app again today. Have to say it's faultless. It does leave me with a question though!

I notice GNE drivers press something on the ticket machine when you board with an M-ticket. Journey recording I'd assume? I also have a monthly m-ticket with Arriva, and notice they don't seem to record the journey all? I often just stand at the front of the bus and never see anything pressed on the machine.

Does anyone (perhaps drivers) have any light to shed on how these journeys are recorded across all companies that accept mobile tickets?

At Arriva it should be recorded as 'pass' as the majority of our tickets are to be honest. At Stagecoach they used to distinguish between different types but Arriva don't bother.
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#6
Does anyone remember GNE's pre-smartphone m-ticketing?

You used to have to text then they'd send you a url to a jpeg download with the date, ticket etc. It used to be ridiculously cheap for an all day ticket compared to paying on the bus. Problem was most drivers had never seen one before.
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#7
(18/11/2013, 13:05)gtomlinson Wrote: Does anyone remember GNE's pre-smartphone m-ticketing?

You used to have to text then they'd send you a url to a jpeg download with the date, ticket etc. It used to be ridiculously cheap for an all day ticket compared to paying on the bus. Problem was most drivers had never seen one before.

I remember seeing it, as I recall one of the solars had txt2go branding?
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#8
(18/11/2013, 14:28)aureolin Wrote: I remember seeing it, as I recall one of the solars had txt2go branding?

That's the name I was looking for!

It was an Omincity. photo courtesy of an Ebay User john72723

[Image: http://i.ebayimg.com/t/BUS-PHOTO-GO-NORT...~60_35.JPG]
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#9
Arriva have launched their free Arriva Bus App which provides timetables, journey planners, route maps, local news and service updates for all Arriva locations excluding the TFL area. The app is available now for iPhone and there should be an android version at the end of this month.
http://www.arrivabus.co.uk/app/
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#10
Lothian Buses have just released their new app too:
http://lothianbuses.com/apps
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