June 6, 2012

NCTD launches e-ticketing pilot

Oceanside, Calif.-based North County Transit District (NCTD) is now one of the first transit agencies to pilot e-ticketing technology, providing customers the convenience of pre-purchasing public transit tickets online for special events.

The new technology, developed with CooCoo Inc., a Huntington, N.Y.-based transit technology company, allows customers to use a credit or debit card to purchase a Coaster train ticket from a computer, smart phone or tablet. The Coaster commuter train runs between Oceanside and San Diego seven days a week with a weekday ridership of about 5,600.

E-ticketing pilot sales have proven successful in recent weeks. More than 500 e-tickets were pre-purchased by runners registered in the June 3 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

NCTD is launching a key e-ticketing partnership to promote taking transit to the month-long San Diego County Fair, an event notorious for gridlocked traffic and parking shortages. Customers can go online to pre-purchase a discounted combination ticket called the “Weekend Fair Tripper.”

“We are pleased the Coaster is an increasingly popular and vital alternative to parking at community events,” said NCTD Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker. “We know lines get long at the ticket machines and many times customers cannot finish their ticket transactions before the train arrives. This online option will not only help our customers avoid the stress of the crowded platform purchase, but we will recover fare revenue we were losing on special event days.”

CooCoo provides NCTD with a content management system allowing transit agency staff to build special ticket terms tailored for each promotion.

In the future, NCTD expects to expand the partnership with CooCoo to offer more special event tickets, sales through mobile phone apps and texting, and on-board ticket sales. The technology could also spread to other modes in the system, including Breeze buses and the Sprinter light rail.

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