[Tall-Corn] Issues with DART's app on the iPhone
wmajerus at gmail.com
Sat May 4 17:10:52 UTC 2019
Greetings, Iowa Federationists:
I'm posting this both to Tall-Corn and DSM-Iowa. This is mostly
because I know that DSM-Iowa is a fledgling list. DART recently
updated their iPhone app and it is now inaccessible from a ticketing
standpoint. Essentially, if you select a pass and then want to
activate it, this is not possible nonvisually. The bar near the bottom
of the screen you use cannot be activated while VO is on. If you have
an active pass, i.e. you got a pass before this update came down, it
is still usable. It is when you need to activate a new one that you
will have difficulty. This seems to be the only part of the app they
Below is an email I sent to DART. It provides possible solutions and
offers my help to them. I am writing the main customer service address
and a guy named Catlin Curry who I spoke to last year to look at the
new fareboxes. I will share any updates I learn. It should be noted
that a live conversation with someone at the DART customer service
windows yielded nothing, and neither did my phone conversation with a
guy named Richard. I am hopeful that this email yields something
because I am kind of liking not having to carry cash or to be hassled
by DART customer service (that's really about the only place you can
buy passes anymore) for wanting to pay full fare on the buses.
Again, I will keep you all posted and this email may serve as a guide
if you too decide you want to contribute to this effort.
I am Wes Majerus, a frequent rider of DART buses who happens to be
blind. I have competently and confidently used all aspects of the My
DART app since its unveiling in October of 2017, including the mobile
ticketing features. I was excited when, on Easter Sunday, I received
an update to your application that boasted an integrated trip planner
and Next Bus feature that did not rely on web views and is usable
inside the application. This part of the application works well.
My excitement about the inline trip planner and bus tracker was
equaled with dismay regarding mobile ticketing. From the standpoint of
the application, this feature has worked well since October of 2017.
Unfortunately, blind riders can no longer access their unused tickets
using the iPhone without performing tasks that involve unpredictable
The iPhone comes with a built-in functionality called VoiceOver. This
is a screen reading software that uses spoken output or Braile from a
connected refreshable Braille display to communicate what is on the
screen of the device. Commands are available to control what is read
and how. Before the Easter Sunday update, one could locate a ticket in
their wallet, double-tap on it (this is the standard gesture VoiceOver
uses to select an item), and then double-tap on the bar that says "Tap
to Activate Ticket". One can no longer activate this bar when
VoiceOver is on. I am totally blind and cannot use my phone without
VoiceOver. I am not sure what changed on the ticketing screen in this
update, but, as previously stated, the process for activating tickets
was working well. If you cannot see the screen of your phone at all,
you can get your finger where you think the bar is without VoiceOver
running. Unfortunately, it then becomes a game of chance whether your
finger will correctly activate the button and start the activation
process. Each time an activation attempt is made, the process involves
turning VO off, tapping the screen where you think the activation bar
is, then turning VO on to check. The only way you know this was
successful is if the modal dialog that confirms you are about to
activate the ticket appears.
Here are the current issues I see with the MyDart app as of the
current version. I am running an Apple iPhone 7 Space Gray 256 GB with
all publicly-available Apple and My Dart updates applied.
Unable to reliably activate tickets nonvisually.
Unpredictable behavior of the "Tap to open scannable code" button on
active tickets. This causes undue delay when trying to scan at the
terminal. Since all buses have barcode terminals, is there a reason
why we cannot have the barcode maximized at all times?
Is there a way the phone can detect that it is near one of your fare
terminals and automatically open the barcode for scanning? Could the
barcodes be eliminated altogether with the use of NFC or bluetooth?
Sluggish behavior and app crashes when network connectivity is not
optimal. For example, if you are on DART's Wi-Fi, but have not gotten
past the captive page, the app will crash. I ran into this a few days
ago and could not use my app. This is a sneaky bug because you can
prepare while at home or elsewhere, but opening the ticket at the
station or near a bus whose wifi you've accessed before causes issues.
I am willing to discuss these issues with you further and to help you
troubleshoot them. You may feel free to contact me via phone or email;
be advised that I do work full-time and am available for phone calls
Phone number redacted from copy
There are also some physical and philosophical issues regarding DART
that I am concerned about, but they would probably best be left to
separate cover as they are related to other aspects of the transit
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