If you’re looking to get to work sustainably, your smartphone is a powerful tool – especially if you live or work in York Region. Here are a few apps in particular that we at Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill (SCMRH) think you should check out to help you in commuting sustainably.
The Commute Tracker app by Rideamigos connects with your Smart Commute Tool (SCT) account and allows you to both track the financial, environmental, and health benefits from commuting sustainably and receive rewards. Just as you can log your trips on the SCT, you can log your trips on this app as well – once you’ve connected your Commute Tracker app with your SCT account, the app will run in the background to detect when you commute from home to work. For times when the app is unable to detect a trip (or if you decide to turn of tracking), it also predicts trips – for example, if you add in your profile that you work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, the app will listed expected trips based on your schedule and preferred mode. All you have to do is log onto the app and accept (or reject) these detected or expected trips to log them.
Once logged, your sustainable trips can help make you eligible for amazing rewards – for example, participants from eligible workplaces in our recent Carpool Incentives project could redeem a variety of gift cards for logging carpool trips throughout the challenge period.
Don’t have a Smart Commute Tool Account? Click here for instructions on how to sign up and join your workplace network!
The YRT Pay App is probably my favourite app on this list. It allows you to quickly and easily pay for transit trips right on your smartphone. Simply download the app, create an account and you’re ready to get started! Through the app, you can purchase tickets online and activate them when you need them – to activate, simply click “Activate Tickets” when on the “Use Tickets” screen. There is a one minute activation period that begins once you click “Activate Tickets”, and after that is complete, your ticket is active and you are ready to board! All you need to do is show the driver your smartphone with your activated ticket on your smartphone screen when you board the bus.
The great part about this app is that if you’re travelling in a group – with your kids or with your friend, for example – you can activate as many tickets (of any type) as you need on the same smartphone! No more searching your pockets for bus tickets or digging through your purse for change!
What happens if I don’t have mobile data? No problem – whenever you have an internet connection, you can purchase tickets, and these tickets will be saved on your device. Any tickets on your device can still be activated while you’re offline!
The recently released PRESTO app makes it easier than ever to manage your PRESTO card. With it, you can load funds and transit passes to your PRESTO card right from your phone – and, for android devices, you can use NFC to load funds instantly! In my opinion however, the best part about this app is being able to set up and manage auto load or auto renew or to receive reminders when your balance is running low or your pass is expiring. If you’re like me, you’ve definitely experienced that awkward situation of stepping onto a bus and not having enough on your card (though thankfully for us in York Region, we have the YRT Pay App when this happens), and so this App can help make sure that you always have enough on your card when you tap onto your bus or train.
Transit is a powerhouse. Not only does the app provide schedules to tell you when your next train or bus is going to arrive, it also displays real-time transit information to show you where exactly your ride is on the map. With this third-party app that has been endorsed by the TTC, you can also receive service disruptions affecting your commute, departure alarms to tell you when to leave to catch your bus or train, and even check ETAs for your favourite ridesharing apps. For Toronto treavel, it also tells you where your nearest bikeshare station is, how many bikes are currently at the station, and even lets you pay for single bike trips right on the app.
There is so much this app can do – Click here to find out more!
Last (but certainly not least), we have Triplinx. As the “official trip planner and one-stop transportation information resource for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA),” Triplinx can get you where you need to go in the GTHA. It allows you to plan your route however you like, and for those of us in York Region, the app provides real-time updates and schedule information for a variety of modes. My favourite feature however is that, when planning your trip, you can organize the different route options by what’s most important to you – for example, is it more important that you find the fastest route, the cheapest route, or the route with the least walking or the fewest stops. This makes it great for finding your perfect commute.
CHRISTOPHER FORD, PROGRAM STRATEGIST | APRIL 10, 2019