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The North County Transit District has rolled out a free new mobile ticketing app for smart phones. It appeared in the Google store in mid-July and iTunes Store in August.

After downloading the app, users must set up an account using an email address and password. It is then possible to store credit card information, bookmark favorite routes, and purchase tickets before you get to the station.

Once your tickets have been purchased, they are available in the My Tickets screen of the app. Before boarding the train, you must activate the ticket, which starts a timer and provides a barcode for the train employees to read with a hand held scanner.

A recent visit to the Carlsbad Village Coaster station showed a marked decrease in people waiting in line at the ticket machines. An informal survey found that nearly half of the passengers had pre-bought their tickets – although many had used the website for that purpose, rather than the app. (If you buy tickets via the website, you will be mailed a PDF file with the barcodes for your tickets, which you may then save on your phone or print out on paper.)

When quizzed about the new app, three different Coaster employees expressed positive opinions, although they did point out a few pro tips in order to speed the process. First, users should be sure to activate their tickets before the Code Enforcement Officers begin their check, so that the barcode is visible on the user’s phone. Also, if you purchase more than one ticket, be sure that you activate them all – as they will each need to be scanned separately. Finally, don’t panic if your activation times out. Just give it a few minutes to reset itself, and then activate it again.

One Coaster rider who used the app said it has made riding the train much easier, since he can avoid the morning rush at the machines. But he suggested that groups of four or more use the website to get a PDF of their tickets instead. Why? Since, each barcode must be scanned separately it’s easier if they are all on one page, rather than having to swipe your phone screen back and forth three times for each ticket. On a busy route, this saves everyone time.

For more information and to download the app, visit http://www.gonctd.com/mobileapp

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