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(Credit: BART)

Anyone traveling with a friend or colleague to or from the airports in Oakland and San Francisco should now download the BART to Airport app and get a 25 percent discount on their ticket.

The innovative new app is designed to help traveling friends, family, and coworkers easily buy BART tickets to and from the airport when traveling as a group. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost told local news outlet KRON that surveys had shown people were frustrated by long lines at ticket vending machines and wanted a quicker way to get through the gates to rail lines.

"This is the first time we're using mobile ticketing. Its something our riders have been asking about," Trost said.

"People don't want to stand at a ticket machine. Typically you'd have to stand at a ticket vending machine and one at a time buy multiple tickets for all the members of your family."

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With the app, users can buy digital tickets through their smartphone and store them for when they need to make their way to the airport using BART.

To entice people into using the app, BART is offering a 25 percent discount for anyone buying two or more tickets through the app.

"This is an easy, convenient way to get to and from the airport, and we're testing the mobile ticketing aspect behind it, so it's a win win," Tost added. Unfortunately, BART's systems are still very limited and the gate machines cannot communicate with the app.

To use the digital tickets bought through the app, you have to go to an attendant in a booth at your local BART station and have them verify the ticket before letting you through the gate.

If there is no attendant at you station, BART has included a phone number on all tickets that you can call. When you call the number and verify your ticket number, an operator will check the station's security cameras and remotely open the gate for you.

Trost said BART is hoping to upgrade their systems in the coming years to make them more mobile-friendly. If this digital-ticket test is widely adopted by riders and residents, BART will consider creating a system like this for all rail tickets regardless of their destination.

BART is one of the many local rail or subway transportation systems that have created apps for a variety of purposes. Like many other city rail systems, BART has an app with a map of all the rail lines. But they recently unveiled an app that lets you figure out the cost of your trip before you get to the station with updates on any delays or system malfunctions.

The airport app is now BART's third app, and Trost said at some point, it would try to combine all of them into one central app.

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Takeaways

  1. If you have a group of two or more people traveling to an airport on BART, download the rail line's new app that will give you a 25 percent discount on all digital tickets.
  2. The digital tickets are designed to reduce lines at ticket vending machines but cannot be used on the gate machines. Instead, the tickets need to be manually checked by a station attendant, who will open the station gate for you and your traveling party.

Also see

Jonathan is a Contributing Writer for CNET's Download.com. He's a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.