Revolutionary Metro ticket app launched - but here's why it doesn't work on iPhones
A long-awaited ticket app to “revolutionise” the Tyne and Wear Metro has finally been released – but it could be some time before iPhone users get to see it.
The Metro’s new Pop card app was released on Tuesday, allowing passengers to buy and store tickets on their phone and use it to open gates at stations.
But the technology is only available on Android smartphones, meaning that anyone who has an iPhone can’t access it.
Nexus, which runs the rail system, says it “would welcome the chance to work with Apple” but there is no timescale set for when iPhone users might be able to download the app on the world’s most popular smartphone.
A Nexus spokesman said: “The Pop app is not currently available on Apple smartphones but there are ongoing talks to make this happen. We hope that is something we can introduce and that work will continue.”
Nexus says that the reason the app cannot be used on an iPhone is that the tickets are stored on Google Pay, which is not available on iPhones, and Apple is not currently allowing them to be stored on Apple Pay.
The app, which is available for free for download from the Google Play Store on Android phones, means that people can avoid queues at ticket machines and don’t need to purchase a separate paper ticket or plastic Pop card.
Only weekly tickets are currently available to purchase on the app. Other tickets, including the Pop Pay As You Go card, are due to be added in 2021.
Nexus bosses say the app, which has been in the works for more than two years, will also improve Covid safety on the public transport network, by reducing the need for people to touch ticket machines.
It also uses near-field communication technology to open station ticket gates or tap in and out at Pop Card validators.
Customer services director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “The Pop card app will revolutionise how people can pay for their travel and then access the Metro network by simply touching their phone on to a gate or validator.
“Customers can buy and store electronic tickets on Android smartphones, and then travel without needing to carry a separate ticket or smartcard.
“It’s convenient, easy to use, speeds up journey times, and, in this Covid-19 era, it will further minimise the need for customers to use cash and come into contact with touch surfaces on our ticket machines.
“We have worked with one of the world’s biggest companies on one hand and Nebula Labs, a tech start-up from here in North East England, to make this happen.”