Metro partners with Transit app to make riding and trip planning easier and more accurate

To help riders quickly get the info they need, Metro is announcing a new partnership with the popular Transit app for smartphones and tablets. Transit now becomes Metro’s official app, replacing the agency’s own app that will be phased out.

If the Transit app sounds familiar, there’s a good reason why. Many of Metro’s riders already use it and, in fact, the Transit app is already widely used in more than 200 cities around the world. It’s proven to be popular with high customer ratings in both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Transit offers:

•More accurate real-time arrival information for buses and trains.

•Step-by-step navigation with the app’s GO feature.

•Comprehensive trip planning, including trips with transfers to Metro and other agencies, as well as info for Metro Bike and private ride share services.

•Personalized service alerts, so you can easily find the info you need about your bus and trains without having to wade through a sea of alerts.

•Offline functionality including trip planning, route maps and schedules.

•Tools to help visually impaired riders navigate the system and a commitment to accessibility.

•Improved reliability that will also provide more consistent information across the Transit app, and our digital signage at stops and stations.

“The improved app is very timely given the ongoing pandemic as we can no longer rely on transit data from the past,” said Conan Cheung, Senior Executive Officer in Metro Operations. “There is a new normal in terms of transit demand and Transit gives us the ability to quickly get an impression of how the system is being used. That, in turn, allows us to quickly make service adjustments when and where needed.”

In the past, Metro developed its own app, which was time and resource intensive. We’re now pivoting to using an existing app that we think already works great. Ultimately, we chose to work with Transit because the app is well-designed and the trip planner is intuitive and easy to use. We believe Transit does a great job of taking something that can be confusing by nature —  navigating a complex city via transit — and making it a straightforward experience.

The contract with Transit, which was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals process, costs zero dollars and the partnership is expected to save Metro $240,000 per year in app maintenance and development costs.

“With Transit as Metro’s official app, riders will know where to go and Metro gets an app platform to help build LA’s multimodal future,” said David Block-Schachter, Chief Business Officer at Transit. “By choosing Transit as its app, Metro is letting riders know where to turn for accurate information and the latest service updates. We’re excited to work with Metro and to see more people using Transit as part of their daily routine.”

Transit’s partnership with Metro enables data sharing that helps Metro improve service, while safeguarding privacy and protecting sensitive user information. As part of its commitment to privacy, Transit does not engage in background location tracking, does not sell location data to advertisers, and does not share location data with Metro that could allow individual users to be identified.

As a public agency, Metro is committed to providing open data to the public. If you prefer Google Maps or Apple Maps, for example, the agency is still pushing our latest data to anyone who wants it.

Finally, this: We know many people are staying at home during the ongoing pandemic. We also know that many people are still riding and rely on Metro to get around. Either way, if you don’t already have Transit, please download the app and give it a try. And let us know what you think in the comments!



23 replies

  1. Just curious…if the contract cost Metro zilch, what is Transit’s incentive? I’m seeing how Transit benefits from this, aside from possibly losing money and their app going away.

  2. When are we gonna be able to pay fares with our phone? I know you’ve been developing the app for TAP for years…

    • Hi Vlad;

      An app is in the works but I don’t know at this time when it will be released.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. For years I’ve been using Citymapper as my all-in-one transit app.

    Question: Will Metro deliver any data to Transit that is NOT available to other apps (eg, Citymapper)? If so, how will that data advantage Transit or disadvantage competitive apps?

    • Hi Mark;

      No, everyone has access to the same data. We’re partnering with Transit because we believe they have organized the data well and it saves us the time/money of developing our own app — when a good one already exists.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Nope, if anything Citymapper actually gives you more access to transit in cities that Transit app still needs to support. In other words, Transit app actually needs to play catch up a bit.

      Not knocking transit app though as it does the one thing I need it to do right when I open the app: Showing me all the transit available near me along with when the next bus and train will arrive. That in itself, is what makes Transit app much better IMO.

  4. Does Metro have cell signals in ALL underground areas (stations, platforms, tunnels) of ALL rail lines, to make this work?

  5. Delighted to hear this! I’m a regular user of the Transit app since it’s very user-friendly and has a great interface, and I’m really happy Metro is embracing it!

  6. I have been waiting for this Partnership for over the last seven years of using the Transit app. I’m so excited and happy that this partnership was created so that riders now have more accurate information when riding Metro LA transportation options.

  7. The main concern with the Official Metro app was that it only worked with Metro and in LA, considering the many. Agency’s in the county alone, it was effective useless. Pre-Expo Line days I would need yet another app to see if the R7 or R10 via Google Maps or 704 or 720 via Metro app would be the quickest way to get home (SM to Downtown), the transit app solved that problem of just having it all in one app.

    Now please, no excuses, really the TAP app with ACTUAL Apple Pay Transit support, not just some QR code that eventually the validators are gonna have a hard time reading.

  8. How does Transit make money? They surely aren’t providing this for good will.

  9. I don’t seem to be able to download Transit app on my android phone and cannot find compatibility requirements. Can you help?

    • Hi Dennis,

      Sorry to hear this. Would you be able to get a screen grab of the error message you’re seeing and email Their team is standing by to assist with any issues.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Thanks. Their auto-reply directs you to the help section and informs you they may or may not be able to answer personally. I already checked the help section and find it odd that they don’t address the issue of phone compatibility (usually a standard when downloading apps).

        • Hi Dennis,

          I’ll also reach out to our contacts on the developer team and see if they’re able to follow up.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

        • Hi Dennis,

          I’ve checked that Transit has sent a follow up email. If you didn’t receive it, it’s possible it was filtered to spam. Would you be able to check your email settings and spam folder to make sure? They’ll be sending a second follow up shortly with an app version you should be able to download.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

          • Thanks Anna and Steve. I would have gotten back to you earlier, but I’ve been under the weather the last couple of days. Transit was good about reaching out to me. I am told that the app requires an Android version 5 or newer cell phone, which I presume was the problem.

            They offered me an older version of Transit, but I’m hesitant to download an unsupported app that is unavailable from the Google Play Store. They advised me how I can access many features OFFLINE with another device of mine. I see, however, after perusing their support article, that I would be unable to get real-time data. For that, without being online, one would have to call Metro customer service.

            This is a real problem, especially since the Metro bus line near my home is contracted out to another company and has a history of not always being reliable. For some reason, workers at the GO-METRO customer service number are not required to work until the end of the operating day, as one might expect in private-sector employment. In the late evening, when accurate information is most critical, the office is closed. And earlier in the day, because it is a contracted service and (for some reason) the transponders are often turned off, many representatives at the GO-METRO number are (for some reason) unwilling to check real-time status. This raises another question: How accurate is Transit’s data for bus lines that are contracted out to companies that are allowed to turn off the transponders on their buses??

    • Hi Dennis;

      I would email Transit or the maker of your smart phone.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. Good news. I’ve been using that app for a while now. Maybe next metro can visit some other transit systems to see how they are run.

  11. Based on reading this article a few minutes ago, I clicked on the link and had it downloaded to my phone is a very short time. I gave it permission to access my location, of course, and I was blown away by the display of information I was greeted with! I live in OC so there was my usually closest bus routes at the top and displaying the number of minutes til the next bus. Not only that but every other bus in the area with the intersections and time to next bus. Very impressive. SO much better than texting OCTA for next bus. Thanks, Anna Chen!

    • Great to hear it! Wishing you safe travels, and we welcome future feedback as well as we work with Transit to improve.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source