CTA, Metra, Pace Provide Update on Mobile Ventra App Development

May 14, 2015

Transit Agencies Engage Local, Highly Regarded App Test Group

The CTA, Metra and Pace today announced that it will partner with a local group that has extensive experience in testing new apps, to expand testing of the new mobile Ventra app.

The Smart Chicago Collaborative’s Civic User Testing Group is a highly regarded program that maintains a pool of Chicago residents to road-test new apps under development. This testing will complement the rigorous testing already under way and help the transit agencies reach their No. 1 goal of providing a Ventra mobile app that provides a seamless, enjoyable “one-stop shopping” experience that essentially puts a Ventra vending machine in their pockets.

“We get to make a first impression once, and we want the Ventra app to make a great first impression on CTA, Metra and Pace customers,” said Michael Gwinn, CTA Director of Fare Systems. “We are very encouraged by the testing that we’ve conducted so far on the app’s functionality and its user experience, and believe that Smart Chicago’s contribution will enrich the development process and provide customers with the best transit app possible.”

Smart Chicago is a civic group that is devoted to improving lives through technology. Its Civic User Testing Group has tested more than a dozen apps. The CUTGroup will create a pool of testers to use the app in real life to buy fares and manage their accounts by smartphone, providing valuable feedback to CTA, Metra and Pace ahead of beginning the first, larger group of public testing.

Testing includes functions to purchase fares, manage transit accounts and get real-time arrival and departure information for all three transit providers, all functions that will be launched in the first phase of the app.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the development of the region’s first-ever transit app and contribute meaningfully to the product that hundreds of thousands of transit customers will use every day,” said Smart Chicago Executive Director Daniel X. O’Neil.

The transit agencies have agreed that in order to create a superior app that meets their high standards, the development schedule will be extended and the app will launch this fall.

“We’re confident that partnering with an esteemed institution like Smart Chicago will get us across the finish line and provide customers with a great experience,” said CTA’s Gwinn. “We’ve said consistently that we would launch only when the app was ready and we’re committed to taking the extra steps that will be worth the wait.”

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