Bus rider using the HopOn app Bus rider using the HopOn app HopOn lets users pay for their bus fare on their smartphone. (Photo: HopOn)

HopOn app aims to simplify public transportation

New transit app is saving commuters and transportation companies time and money

Public transportation usually has people grumbling their way to work, but transportation app HopOn is trying to make the daily commute a little easier.

HopOn's idea is to allow customers pay for and validate all public transportation fares through their smartphone. So, rather than swiping a ticket or plunking down change, the technology does all the work. And now, after testing the app on 1,800 buses in Israel, its creators plan to launch a HopOn pilot in the U.S. soon.

The app was created by former Israeli accountants David Mezuman and Ofer Sinai, who have been friends since high school. They used to take the bus to work together every day and would often brainstorm how the trip could be made better. 

“Most people pay for mobile parking, reserve a taxi and many other services from their smartphone. It doesn’t make sense that there isn't a better solution for public transportation,” Mezuman told From the Grapevine.

HopOn appHopOn aims to make public transportation easier and faster. (Photo: HopOn)

With the help of partner Izik Mizrahi, they developed a patent-pending system that utilizes ultrasonic sound technology. This gives companies the ability to control the distance of the signal, which can reach up to 16 feet. When a customer gets on the bus, “the space that we choose (typically around the driver) automatically receives ultrasonic sound waves and validates the customer's bus pass.”

Practically speaking, “even if 10 people enter at the same time, all people can validate their ticket at the same time, like magic,” Mezuman said. All they need to do is open the app on their smartphones, and the ticket validates automatically. They then show the validation to the bus driver. No scrounging for change, no paper tickets, no cards to refill and no standing in line at the ticket machines.

This simplicity is exactly what HopOn is aiming for. “The ease for the customers makes a huge difference,” Mezuman explained. 

HopOn doesn't just want people to download their app. It wants to change the face of the traditional paper ticketing systems used by transportation services. With HopOn technology, “the driver is just driving, instead of giving change and doing 3,000 other things, which saves significant time,” Mezuman said. Since people can board the bus quickly with HopOn, the reduced wait time at each bus stop saves huge amounts of gas. 

Additionally, the system is simple to learn. For a pilot program with public buses in Israel, the HopOn team trained the 1,500 drivers of Dan Transportation Co. in about two weeks and hasn't had any complaints from bus drivers. Now, Mezuman said 60 percent of Israel's public transportation providers have signed up. 

"We see a great advantage in working with HopOn," said Moti Maimon, a project manager at Dan Transportation. "It saves us money, simplifies the boarding process and gives our customers a great ticketing and payment platform."

Also incorporated within the app are personalized features, including fares for students and senior citizens. It even allows parents to buy tickets for their kids and employers for their employees.

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