TRANSPORTATION

There’s Now an App for Ferry Riders to New York

By Young Soo Yang

NY Waterway's mobile app for smartphones. Photo courtesy of NY Waterway.

NY Waterway, the largest private ferry operator in the country, launched on January 3 a new mobile application. NY Waterway is the first mass transit service in the U.S. to offer a 100% smart device-based app that incorporates payment and ticketing, all in one.

The app was created and developed by Bytemark, a company that provides a platform for development solutions for mobile commerce. It is available to download for free from www.nywaterway.com, the Android Marketplace and the iTunes App Store, and will work with all Android and Apple iOS-run smart phones as well as the iPad. The new app allows NY Waterway customers to instantly purchase and use a ticket as well as store multiple tickets and monthly passes on their mobile devices.

“NY Waterway is thrilled to bring this newly developed technology to our customers to make ticket-buying more seamless, and so we can get them to where they need to go more efficiently,” said Paul Goodman, CEO of Billybey Ferry Company, which operates under the NY Waterway banner. “Your smart device becomes your mobile ticket purchasing option and your boarding pass.”

Besides the ability to purchase tickets, key features of the app include:

– Real time advisories for service changes and emergencies
– Easy access to ferry schedules
– Route maps for ferries on both the Hudson River and East River
– GPS bus locator to track status of connecting buses
– Easy access to the NY Waterway and East River Ferry Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, foursquare and Flickr pages

The app has unique security features for NY Waterway management to allow them to change images and ticket details for the deckhands to easily validate tickets. The system also collects real time ridership information anonymously and, in the future, will provide unique advertising to customers based on where they are embarking or disembarking.

The app, which runs on Bytemark’s mobile ticketing and payment platform could be applied to other mass transit systems. “We’ve talked to a number of different transit agencies in the country and had discussions with bus and rail carriers on how it would work,” says Bytemark spokesman Micah Bergdale. “We’ve had high-level discussions with NJ Transit and SEPTA, but nothing beyond that.”