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No Cash for the Bus? MuniMobile to the Rescue

Photo: SFMTA

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Finally! No more fumbling at the bottom of your crumby, gum-wrapper-laden bag scraping up change for Muni. No more beseeching strangers for change of a fiver so you don't have to pay an extra $2.75 to ride the J-Church. What gives? The birth of MuniMobile, a free app that allows you to pay for, yes, single-fare rides on Muni, including bus, rail and cable cars.

The Bay Area's first system-wide mobile-ticketing app, which works on iPhones and Android phones, can also be used to securely purchase one- and three-day fares, as well as seven-day passports. (Cool: now tourists don't have to queue up outside the, err, less-than-serene kiosk near the Powell Street cable car-stop.)

MuniMobile, is built on top of PayPal's Braintee platform —and, naturally allows for Paypal payment, as well as credit and debit cards. Mobile phone numbers are used as unique identifiers—one number, one account. Just download the app, create an account by choosing what type of rider you are (adult, senior, student, paratransit, or disabled), select a fare/mode of transit (bus, rail, cable car, passport) and then enter your payment deets, which will be safely stored.

Once checkout is completed, a ticket is deposited in your account and can be activated at any time (just call it up before boarding). No tap-tap on the Clipper card-reader necessary: show the digi-ticket to the operator and you're good to go. The app uses a dynamic animated ticket to ensure visual authentication. A SF cityscape changes color when activated and serves up the date and time of expiration. (Once expired, the ticket turns gray.)

FastPass users, you'll have to continue using your real-world Clipper cards for now. Although, according to a SFMTA spokesperson, chances are good that will change in the future.

As for BART users? Sorry, you're SOOL.