Metra says it expects to begin live-testing its long-awaited mobile ticketing system next month, with an expected rollout sometime this fall.
"Testing is going to drive where we are," Lynette Ciavarella, the agency's director of capital planning, told the Metra board Thursday. "There is still work that needs to be done."
Ciaverella said internal testing of the mobile app has been going well, and that live financial transactions had been working, but there was still a feeling that the app's interface was "a little clunky."
"We all understand that that needs to be perfect the first time," she said.
Public testing will include 1,500 specially selected passengers.
"It's an extremely complicated app," Ciaverella said, noting that the system is designed to work across Metra, CTA and Pace. "We have extremely high standards."
Board member John Plante noted the problem-plagued rollout of the CTA's Ventra system. And his colleague Don DeGraff endorsed the idea of intensive testing on the system.
"Do not--do not, unveil this, until it's ready," DeGraff advised Ciaverella. And Metra Chairman Martin Oberman echoed that advice.
"Our customers will be a lot happier," he said.