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MTS Launches Ticketing App

An MTS ticket bought with the new Compass Cloud app is displayed on a phone screen, March 9, 2017.
Andrew Bowen
An MTS ticket bought with the new Compass Cloud app is displayed on a phone screen, March 9, 2017.

The Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District are scheduled Thursday to launch a mobile ticketing app that will benefit both agencies.

Passengers will be able to use the Compass Cloud app for bus and rail trips. According to the agencies, the app will be available round-the-clock. Other perks include being able to buy tickets in advance and having multiple tickets on one device.

The launch comes almost one year after the MTS board approved a three-year contract with moovel North America to create and implement a mobile ticketing platform. The deal with moovel — an Oregon-based subsidiary of Germany's Daimler AG — includes options for three additional years, for what could be a total of six. The firm will receive a 4 percent commission on sales.

RELATED: MTS Launching Mobile Ticketing App — With Limits

The agencies have been under fire for the old-fashioned Compass cards dispensed at ticket machines at trolley stations and transit centers, which turned out to have some security flaws. It was discovered last year that the cards do not meet payment card industry data security standards, which leaves passengers vulnerable to credit card fraud.

While the Compass Cloud is not a replacement for the card, it will provide an alternative since many passengers have mobile devices.

Officials with Circulate San Diego, an advocacy group focused on mobility issues, said the new mobile payment option is an improvement, but the transit agencies still need to correct the problems with the Compass cards, which aside from compromised security, include an inability to store funds for future use.

"Transit systems work when they get the basics right, but MTS has failed to get the basics right on fare payment," said Colin Parent, Policy Counsel for Circulate San Diego.

Parent said that while the new fare payment system is a welcomed enhancement, the agencies still need to make significant improvements to the Compass cards and implement both stored value and compliance with payment card industry data security standards.