Have app, will travel

Athens public transit moves to smartphone ticketing

Thanks to the help of Masabi and MasterCard, the entire urban transit network of Athens, Greece, can now be ridden with nothing more than a smartphone. The city’s bus, tram and metro lines have moved to Masabi’s JustRide mobile ticketing system with MasterCard handling the payments.

What that means is Greeks (or tourists) who download the JustRide mobile app for Athens can buy tickets and passes for the entire transit system on their smartphones. Those tickets are then displayed on their screens to show fare inspectors along with a QR code that can be scanned in at automated stations. If you’re familiar with the smartphone ticketing system used by Boston’s metro system “The T” or on New York City’s Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad, then you probably have a good idea of how it works.

Masabi's mobile ticketing app displaying a ticket for the MTA's Metro-North Railroad
Masabi’s mobile ticketing app displaying a ticket for the MTA’s Metro-North Railroad

Masabi is actually a London-based company, but the Athens deal is its first big European contract outside of the U.K. where it does ticketing for rail lines and ferries. Now that it’s working with MasterCard though it might have an advantage in bringing more cities under the Masabi umbrella. By integrating with the MasterPass secure payment system, JustRide now comes with its own payments processing system so transit agencies don’t need to provide their own.