The Lead

AlleCo Port Authority launches mobile pay for Pittsburgh-area buses and inclines

By: - August 17, 2021 3:26 pm

The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood (Pittsburgh City Paper photo)

By Lauryn Nania

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh has recently seen an increase in accessibility for non-car transportation with the implementation of additional bike shares, the start of e-scooters, and now, public transit riders will have the option to pay for their fares right from their phones.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced that on Aug. 16 that transit users in the Pittsburgh area can now use smartphones to pay for bus and incline fares as a part of the Move PGH mobility initiative.

Transit users in the Pittsburgh region can download two mobile applications — the Transit app or Ready2Ride — on their smartphones to purchase tickets. Each app is available in the App Store and Google Play.

“I’m thrilled that we are able to offer this service to riders, which has been several years in the making,” said Port Authority Vice Chair and board member Jennifer Liptak, who chairs the Board’s Technology Committee in a press release. “Investments in tools like these further modernize our transit system, making it more accessible and efficient for all users.”

The entire Port Authority fleet of over 700 buses has incorporated the mobile payment systems as of Aug. 16. The mobile payment methods will also be available to use on the Duquesne and Monongahela inclines by the end of the week, yet they will be unavailable on the light-rail system, aka “the T,” until 2022.

Transit tickets available to purchase on Ready2Ride and Transit range from single trips which cost $2.50, up to a monthly pass, valid through a whole calendar month, for $97.50.

Credit and debit cards are the acceptable payment methods on either app. However, the Transit app includes a virtual “Port Authority wallet” where users can load money into and use it as a payment method as well.

After each payment, users will receive a QR code that will be scanned when boarding the bus or incline.

“The adoption of mobile ticketing technology represents a big leap forward for Port Authority and another step in the right direction for our region,” said Port Authority CEO Katherine Kelleman.

Port Authority tweeted that funds on Connect Cards cannot be transferred to the mobile ticketing apps.

Port Authority’s mobile ticketing apps are a part of a recent initiative titled Move PGH which is aimed to make multi-modal travel around the city easier and more accessible.

Port Authority announced in 2019 their $2.85 million contract with London-based technology company Masabi, to establish mobile transit ticketing in the Pittsburgh region. Masabi has partnered with over 50 transit companies internationally to make mobile payments more accessible.

Lauryn Nania is a reporter for Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.

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