NJ Transit expands mobile app to riders without bank accounts
One of the joys of the NJ Transit app is no more fiddling with bills and coins, and no more constantly making sure the bus fares are accurate.
The benefits of the mobile app have eluded contestants who don’t have a credit or debit card or bank account.
That changes with NJ transit’s announcement that riders can load cash into the app at 1,000 participating retailers, the latest feature of the app, which launched in 2013 and has 4 million accounts.
The app allows riders to purchase electronic tickets and passes to pay for bus, train and light rail fares, as well as providing route planning tools, timetables and real-time arrival times.
NJ Transit officials made the announcement Tuesday, and the “Cash in App” feature is now available to riders who have the latest version of the app, NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith said.
The latest service is one not offered by other regional transit systems, such as the MTA, which launched its Traintime app for Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road. This app does not offer the ability to load cash.
Customers can top up cash at participating chain retailers in New Jersey, such as 7-Eleven, Walgreens, CVS and Family Dollar. Converting cash directly to a digital balance in the NJ Transit app allows riders to purchase electronic NJ Transit tickets and passes.
“There is no charge to the customer to load cash into the app,” Smith said. That means a customer who hands a $20 bill to a participating retailer will show up as $20 in the digital balance on the NJ Transit mobile app, he said.
Currently, only participating retailers can transfer cash to the NJ Transit mobile app, Smith said, meaning ticket agents at NJ Transit terminals and stations cannot load cash into customers’ apps.
“A wide network of participating retailers ensures fast and convenient transactions,” he said.
The feature provided assistance to the working poor and other low-income riders without bank accounts who were unable to use the app.
Passengers with the latest version of the app installed can tap “More” in the lower right corner of the screen, then “Payment Methods” and then “MyTransit Wallet”. You will then see a barcode to load payments and current balance
NJ Transit sweetened the deal by offering the first 2,000 customers who add cash to their My Transit wallet a $5 credit toward NJ Transit tickets and passes within 30 days.
The new feature benefits both the agency and customers who have not been able to use the app until now, NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett said in a statement.
“It also promises to further reduce cash and paper ticketing and leverage the statewide retail network to expand access to transit, especially for the unbanked,” he said.
The free app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
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Larry Higgs can be reached at [email protected].