On Thursday, transit agency board members authorized a seven-year agreement for the app with the East Coast-based technology company ELERTS. With the service also available in Spanish and Chinese, BART is the first transit agency to offer an app with three languages, agency Police Chief Kenton Rainey said.
The contract for about $37,857 per year will be covered with $15,000 from BART’s operating budget and $250,000 from Proposition 1B security funds, which are set to expire March 31.
All board members voted in favor of the contract except James Fang, who abstained, questioning why ELERTS’ price did not go down despite five other bids that were considered.
“I just find that a little bit unusual because the whole idea of competition is to get a better value,” Fang said.
The winning bid was selected based on features such as immediate two-way communication, explained Travis Engstrom, BART manger of information systems.
The app will include a silent photo and automatic flash-free feature and allow riders to upload pictures, give location information and write their own comments. ELERTS has created similar apps for transit agencies including the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and expects to have BART’s available within a couple months.