For many riders, the frustration of waiting in line at Union Station to buy a ticket for a train at the one machine that isn’t out of order may be a thing of the past. Yesterday, Metrolink launched a new app that allows riders to buy tickets on their smartphones and store them there, too, says the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Earlier this month, Metrolink had started a pilot program for mobile ticketing app, but it only worked on the Inland Empire-Orange County line. This new version works systemwide, and "As of Thursday afternoon, Metrolink’s app had been downloaded 9,000 times and 4,700 tickets were purchased," a Metrolink official told the Tribune. (That same official also admitted that the move was "way overdue.")
The app works for one-way and round-trip tickets, plus 7-Day and Weekend passes, and it allows for multiple tickets to be bought and stored. If there’s one, temporary hiccup in the digital ticketing process, it’s that the on-phone tickets are only good on Metrolink right now; riders hoping to use their ticket as a free transfer to Metro trains or buses will still have to buy paper tickets.
Metrolink says that it expects by sometime this fall, gates on Metro rail lines will be able to read bar codes, making the mobile ticket valid for transfers between the two rail lines like the paper one is now. They’re also working with Amtrak to make mobile tickets scannable by Amtrak conductors.
With the possibility of a new connection between Metrolink and Metro's Green Line on the table, making it more convenient for riders to buy tickets is a no-brainer.