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NY Waterway launches mobile payments with iPhone, Android, iPad app

January 5, 2012

The NY Waterway iPhone app

New York transportation company NY Waterway is rolling out a mobile payment service to let users pay for ferry tickets via an application on their mobile device.

The NY Waterways app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad devices and processes mobile payments by creating an account for users that is tied to a credit card. The mobile payments will be accepted across all of NY Waterway’s New York-based 33 boats and 21 routes.

“Our approach was to take advantage of smartphone technology to create an electronic version of the paper ticketing methodology we currently employ,” said Paul Goodman, CEO of Billybey Ferry Co., New York.

“Over time, we see the app as a way to communicate directly and immediately with our customers with information that they will find useful in their travel planning,” he said.

NY Waterway is owned by Billybey Ferry Co. and Port Imperial Ferry Corp. serves 35,000 consumers daily on New York’s East River and travels between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Mobile companion
To purchase a ticket, users must register a username and password with NY Waterway via the app. Consumers can then type in a credit card number to be linked to the account.

The app uses push notifications to alert consumers about travel changes, which users can opt-in to when signing up for an account.

Consumers can buy either a one-way, all-day or monthly ticket via the app and select a starting and ending point.

The app also uses GPS to locate users to a nearby ferry stop.

Users then store their purchased tickets via the app and show their mobile device to a NY Waterway employee at the ferry station.

Travelers can also use the app to find ferry schedules and map their trips.

Consumers can also view advisories and learn more about NY Waterway.

The transportation company is also building their social media efforts with a section that connects with NY Waterway’s social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, foursquare and You Tube.

Consumers can also call a customer service number or access the company’s Web site via the app.

Take me there
Mobile payments and transportation have gone hand in hand but one of the most difficult parts of getting the technology to catch on is educating consumers on them.

NY Waterway is a good example of a company using mobile payments with transportation because the app is promoted as being more than just useful for tickets – it is also a guide to helping consumers speed up their travel time.

Additionally, by offering the app across multiple platforms for Android, iPhone and iPad devices, it is helpful to gain momentum around the app.

NY Waterway is not the only transportation company dabbling in mobile payments.

NJ Transit also recently began using mobile payments via Google Wallet’s technology (see story).

For marketers, advancements in mobile payments with transportation could mean new ways to target specific users with customized advertising and messages.

“In the future, this technology will allow us to provide our customers with unique information tailored to each individual customer’s experience and needs, including ads for local businesses and allow us to partner with these local businesses to develop additional marketing campaigns,” Mr. Goodman said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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