BART releases official app for customized experience

Amanda Ramirez/Senior Staff

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BART announced Monday the release of an official app to provide BART users with an additional tool for navigating the Bay Area transportation system in real time.

The app is free for Apple users in the App Store as well as for Android users in Google Play. According to a BART press release, the app offers real-time departures, step-by-step trip planning, a fare calculator and the ability to save favorite trips and stations.

While there are numerous transportation apps available to consumers, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said the new app’s multimodal “trip planner” feature is exclusive to BART and sets the app apart from others. According to Trost, the app allows riders to include multiple types of transportation, such as biking, taking a train and riding a bus, in searching for routes.

Previously, BART displayed its data to the public, allowing third-party developers to then gather the information and build their own apps, according to Trost. BART decided, however, that creating its own app would allow for an improved rider experience.

“As technology expands, we want to provide a more personalized experience,” Trost said. “The idea is that as we get to know our riders through the app … we’d be able to give a much more tailored experience.”

According to the press release, BART plans to expand its services later this year to include a new BART to Airport app, offering discounted mobile tickets for groups traveling “to and from the airport.”

Campus freshman Juliana Roper said she normally uses Google Maps to navigate BART. While she said she appreciated the fare calculator in the BART app, Roper said the two apps do essentially the same thing.

“It’s nice that BART finally came out with an app, but they were just a little too late, I think,” Roper said.

While Trost said BART will continue to make its data available to other app developers, the official BART app provides a greater variety of services than some other navigation systems.

Trost said the official BART app goes beyond real-time departures and arrivals, aiming to create a personalized experience for riders that is unique to the BART app.

“The idea is that people get info about BART from BART,” Trost said.

Contact Julie Madsen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.