Capital Metro will launch an enhanced version of its successful mobile app by mid-2016 that will give riders more advanced and integrated tools to plan their trips. The agency is partnering on the effort with Bytemark Inc., which developed the CapMetro mobile ticketing app.
In July, Bytemark developed a partnership with HaCon, a creator of software solutions for traffic, transport and logistics based in Germany. In its 30-year history, HaCon has established itself as a leading developer for planning, scheduling and information solutions used by long-term customers such as Deutsche Bahn (Germany) and SNCF (France).
Capital Metro will begin working with Bytemark and HaCon to develop new online traveler tools that will be available on the app, and also on the agency’s website and mobile site.
Capital Metro will replace its existing, internally developed Trip Planner with new technology that is currently used by millions of customers in more than 25 countries throughout Europe, and increasingly on other continents. HaCon’s timetable information system, HAFAS, links public and private means of transportation and works as a door-to-door information system with real-time data that helps passengers get the most up-to-date information on delays, connection status, service alerts or cancellations. Currently, HAFAS-based trip planners make up over 200 million app downloads and handle over 100 million requests per day.
The HAFAS-based trip planners will help Capital Metro’s customers make multimodal trips more efficiently, as crucial information like shortest walking distance, shortest time, minimal transfers or preferred service mode will be key functions of the enhanced CapMetro app.
Users will also benefit from detailed maps which will give more accurate route, detour, street stop and points of interests, a live timetable showing animated positions of transit vehicles, and the ability to customize and save any of the features including landmarks, maps and user profiles.
Capital Metro’s app was one of the first transit apps of its kind in the U.S. Riders use it to plan trips, buy and use passes, and get real-time departure information on-the-go. Technological advancements like the CapMetro app are just one reason Austin was ranked first out of 70 major cities for high-tech transportation options in TexPIRG and Frontier Group’s February report.
“We launched the mobile app to streamline the rider’s boarding and riding experience,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson. “Convenient trip-planning capabilities are integral to the user’s experience, and the new enhanced app with next-generation technology will make it even easier to use.”
Use of Capital Metro’s mobile ticketing app continues to grow. To date, it has been downloaded more than 150,000 times, resulting in over $2.3 million in pass sales. A recent customer satisfaction survey conducted by the agency showed that 86 percent of riders use a smartphone, and that the app is the most-used tool for planning transit trips in the Central Texas area.
Also, for the first time ever, use of Capital Metro’s mobile site has surpassed use of its website, revealing that riders are more interested than ever in accessing information on their mobile devices.
“Austin is a tech city with one of the youngest populations in America, and Capital Metro plans to stay relevant with this new generation of riders who are always on the lookout for better ways to coordinate their trips,” said Dan Dawson, Capital Metro VP, marketing. “These intelligent travel tools will allow people to connect with Capital Metro services in a whole new way, and make using transit a more convenient and enjoyable option.”