In a first for Passenger, we’ve released an app before it’s ready. This has been our plan since the Passenger board signed off to take our new myTrip product to market. And whilst it may seem counterintuitive for a company that’s known for its 5-star rated transport apps, we’re making myTrip public sooner rather than later for a few very good reasons.

One of our biggest objectives with myTrip is helping smaller operators rebuild as quickly as possible after the events of the last few months. Both app stores – the App Store for iOS and Android’s Play Store – have a review process where an app is reviewed against its guidelines and a decision is made to allow entry. We’ve been through this process hundreds of times before and it can take time to get through for new apps. With this in mind, the sooner we submit our first builds for review, the less likely that things get held up at this step in the launch process.

Because myTrip will provide QR scanning to ticket machines on the buses, just like our white-label operator apps, there are also some additional requests we have to make to Apple directly to avoid a clash with the device’s NFC when it is placed near the contactless reader. As the number of interactions with Apple increases, so does the likelihood that our requests get caught up in a queue and we begin to lose control of our timeline.

App store search is another area we’re looking to hit the ground running in too. This is like website search engine optimisation (SEO) but for apps instead. Neither store is great when it comes to providing relevant results for app searches, but for a while after a new app is published it can appear to be non-existent. With a few variants of the name ‘myTrip’ already available, getting listed and climbing up the results early is key.

Another risk that we’re aiming to mitigate with an early release is managing a lot of new operators at the same time. We’ve worked hard on making the onboarding process for myTrip as clear and simple as it can be, but there’s no denying that getting data set up and the operator teams trained to manage it will take a herculean effort. Add to that, testing tickets against ETMs on buses to make sure that every ticket product scans correctly, and you have a lot to tick off in a very short space of time. Normally we’d handle app distribution to operator teams outside of the stores, so that this kind of testing can be done before launch, but we figured the fastest way to deliver myTrip would be to work out in the open.

myTrip is on track and we’re already working quickly through onboarding our first wave of operators. This is an exciting product for our team to work on and not least for the impact we hope it will have in encouraging passengers back on the bus.

Our reputation for quality has made the early release of this far-from-perfect-yet app, possible. Our company culture allows us to be temporarily vulnerable because it’s the fastest way to achieve what we’ve set out to for our customers. If you’d like to be a part of this game changing project, please do get in touch. We’d love to have you on board.

Contact [email protected] or call 0845 556 6600 to find out more.

Originally published by Dave Hulbert, Engineering Director, Passenger on Medium.com

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