Concern about Navigo Pass phone app

By | April 11, 2024 | in

We are going to be in Paris for a week at the end of May.  My cousin lives in Paris, and when I told him about the relatively new ability to use the Android phone app (which he did not know about) instead of the Navigo physical card, he asked a couple agents in two different Metro stations about it, and he said that "Both agents were a bit skeptical about how well it works - one going as far as to say that if anything went wrong with the apps/tickets, etc. during your stay here, they would be unable to help you. One of the other agents said the apps may not work on different models of Android phones."  So my cousin suggested to just get the 5.00 € cards (for which we need photos) just to be safe.
So my question is, does the app really work?  Have lots of people used it without problem?  Does it matter which Metro/RER stations you use it at?  I have a new Samsung phone and my wife has a new Pixel phone, and the apps loaded successfully and appear to have "checked out" on both phones (although I've  not yet actually purchased tickets using the apps).
Thanks very much, and as others have said, thanks so much for the very useful and informative site!

1 answer

Staff April 11, 2024

I just perused the reviews from Google Play and recent versions of the Ile de France Mobilites app seems to have introduced a lot of issues. Previously the app seemed much more reliable.  It seems like many are having issues with the operation of the Ile de France Mobilites app in terms of purchasing / storing tickets & passes with the latest version.  The Bonjour RATP app (also official, but managed by the Paris city train authority vs the Ile-de-France regional train authority), seems to have better operation at the moment.  I'll have to make a note of this in the Navigo phone app article. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Compatibility of the Paris transit phone apps across RER/Metro stations should be the same across stations / fare zones so that if the app works at one station, it would theoretically work at all stations. 
I think the only advice I can give at the moment wrt the apps is if you're really keen to use it, is to "test" the app on your particular phones with a single Ticket t+ purchase, attempt to validate that at a turnstile prior to making any further/bigger purchases of Navigo Day Pass or Navigo Week Pass.
Personally, I use the Navigo plastic cards.  For myself, it's simpler, more reliable and can't run out of batteries.  Same for credit cards.  I can use my phone for paying, but 95% of the time I'm using cards still.
I can imagine the ticket window agents are not very helpful with troubleshooting the apps.  French bureaucracy is famously formidable.  And the separation of some small tech consulting firm hired to build/maintain the mobile phone apps and the front line ticketing staff must deeper/wider than the Grand Canyon.  On top of that I can imagine the ticketing staff are not super keen on supporting phone apps which could potentially reduce the need for in-person staff in the future.
Thank you for the kind words about this site! (And apologies for the other hassles.)


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