In Portland, smartphone owners have lots of options for buying and using TriMet tickets. But travel elsewhere, and navigating public transit systems gets more complicated.
Moovel, the Portland-based urban mobility company behind TriMet's ticketing app, wants to develop an app that unifies transit options all over the nation. That means people could download one app and use it wherever they go in the U.S. to purchase transit tickets and plan trips.
Nat Parker, Moovel's CEO, said during a talk at TechfestNW today that the app would be multi-modal, meaning people would not only be able to purchase public transportation trips, but rent shared bikes, scooters, Ubers and Lyfts as well.
"Complexity is holding back public transit," Parker says. "When you go to the airport, you don't have to download a different app in every state. We're proposing cities adopt the same ubiquitous approach to transit ticketing."
Parker says that a ubiquitous, multi-modal ticketing app would help curb climate change by getting single occupancy vehicles off the road as well as make transportation more equitable.
He adds that every person in Portland, and in the nation, is responsible for disrupting transit systems to make them work better for everyone.
"We need rich people to invest in the stuff that moves everybody," Parker says. "Not just themselves."
In Portland, he adds, "We need some true New Deal for transit, that addresses climate and gets people to work here."