The Newly Widely Released App Isn’t Quite Visitor-Friendly
by Heather Cassell
Checking into San Francisco this week, I checked out the new MuniMobile app and found that it’s easy to use for the most part, but some might find it confusing and frustrating if not limiting.
Before you hit the mean San Francisco streets to check out the museums, see the sights, and go shopping, I suggest downloading the app and purchasing your passes prior to leaving your hotel room.
The app is easy to use, that is until attempt to pay for your pass.
First, you aren’t prompted to enter your account information until after you’re in the process of checking out when buying your first pass. The app then doesn’t indicate that it’s securely saved your payment information, but perhaps what’s even more annoying is when you ask, “Where’s my pass?”
You will find that your bus pass doesn’t appear right away – at least mine didn’t on my iPhone. My phone looked liked it froze up prompting me to close the app and reopen it. When I did, I found my ticking in the “My Ticket” section of the app in the navigation menu to the left of the screen.
Annoying for sure, but I also found that the app stores your pass until you are ready to use it. OK. It would have been nice if the ticket wasn’t going to pop up immediately that there would be a prompter that would ask, “Are going to use the ticket now or later?” and allow you to select what you plan to do. I’m just saying, don’t leave your guests hanging thinking the app froze up and their money is gone.
Fortunately, the money isn’t gone. It’s just stored in the form of your ticket for your later use if you find it.
Additionally, regarding money matters, your card is securely stored in the app for all future payments making it quick and easy if you plan to return to San Francisco in the future.
Once I boarded the bus, the MUNI driver saw my phone and nodded his head for me to move into the bus. It appears that MUNI drivers are already in the habit of people shoving their cell phones in their faces showing the app with the date and the clock actively counting down to when the pass’s time is up.
Another downside to the app is that it is only for MUNI. Travelers wanting to hop around San Francisco and the Bay Area mixing up their transportation options from BART to CalTrain to the ferry this app is not for you. You will still have to fork out the $3 for the Clipper Card and load it up with your passes and cash to get around San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.
Aside from these annoyances – that I hope get fixed in the future – the app is a decent option for travelers within San Francisco, sans BART. To avoid that $3 fee for the Clipper Card, cash is still welcomed and BART continues to issue paper passes for single rides.
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