New GO e-ticket pilot takes off for digital customers

Results of recent e-ticket pilot program show many off-peak GO train riders are using their mobile devices for the new fare option.

For a lot of us, life is tethered to smart devices.

They’ve become a tool used for almost every aspect of life – from forming relationships to getting to grandma’s for the holidays to making sure pasta is cooked al dente.

Now, almost 50,000 GO train and bus customers have purchased e-tickets since a new pilot program was introduced in July. The system is an additional fare option that compliments tapping a PRESTO card or going to the ticket counter at a station.

Image shows what an e-ticket looks like.

E-tickets are similar to any other online buying experience. From GO Transit website trip planning pages, customers simply visit the online ticket webpage, pick their destination, date and then check out. The tickets are then emailed to a customer to be activated on their mobile device before a trip on GO – so riders have a way to show proof of payment.

Metrolinx says the e-ticketing pilot is performing well. Customers can buy their GO tickets at home or on the move from their phones. With almost 50,000 tickets sold to date, the initial results show customers are increasingly looking for different ways to buy their fares.

A smartphone screen with an e-ticket on the screen.

Metrolinx says the current pilot will have an impact in how Metrolinx implements a future roll-out of the e-ticket program.

“The e-ticket pilot program was created to help make choosing transit a simpler, more convenient choice for all types of travel across the region,” says Mark Childs, Metrolinx’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Whether it’s advanced planning or spontaneous trip decisions, e-tickets remove another barrier in the decision to choose transit.”

Childs says the majority of e-tickets have been used for travel in to and out of the city for events, fun and entertainment on the weekends, and other journey purposes outside of normal weekday commuting hours.

The GO e-tickets were extremely popular for the CNE and customers are expected to use them when going to Cirque du Soleil Alegria on now at Ontario Place, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, or to take advantage of the recently expanded all-year weekend GO train service to Niagara.

Customers line up at the customer service desk at Union Station.

Almost 50,000 GO customers have skipped the line by purchasing e-tickets.

The pilot is also providing an opportunity for Metrolinx to test and enhance the self-serve customer experience at GO stations.

“We know this new feature is increasingly popular for those who appreciate the ability to skip the ticket line at the station,” Childs says. “We’re seeing that 95 per cent of e-ticket activations are made the same day or the day following purchase.”

With the Leafs latest quest for the Cup underway and the Raptors title defence set to tip off, Metrolinx is confident e-tickets will help customers choose the train or bus instead of driving to get to the game – especially now that kids under 12 ride free on all GO trains and buses.

Childs says the e-ticket pilot will inform how Metrolinx implements a future roll-out of the e-ticket program.

Story by Michael Zupanic, Metrolinx marketing specialist.