App to avoid ticket inspections going like hot cakes

Summary

A free app that allows users to warn other users of the presence of ticket inspectors in Brussels has spiked this month

MIVB not bothered by app

A smartphone app that alerts passengers of upcoming ticket inspections on the Brussels public transport network MIVB has been downloaded more than 30,000 times.

The app, only currently available for iOS, was designed by 22-year-old Olivier Kaisin as an offshoot from the website controlestib.be, which allowed transport users to send a warning message to other users about the presence of inspectors on a particular bus, tram or metro. Warnings are also sent out on Twitter.

The app was released at the end of 2012 and downloaded an average of 100 times a week. In recent days, however, downloads have spiked. Both app and website depend on a critical mass of users – too few users means too few alerts.

Kaisin works for an internet start-up and developed the app as a side project. He is now working on a version for Android phones – the majority of smartphones in use in Brussels – as well as an update of the original. He is also in touch with partners in Berlin, Paris and Strasbourg to develop versions for those cities.

MIVB, meanwhile, said it has no problem with the use of the app because it will discourage fare-dodgers, a spokesperson said. The app has not yet had an effect on the number of passengers caught without a ticket, she said.

Photo courtesy Mauritsvink/Wikimedia

An app that allows users to warn other users of the presence of ticket inspectors in Brussels has spiked this month.

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