European train ticket vendor Capitaine Train announced it’s long-awaited iPhone app this week, The web app has been making a dent in the European eTicketing since its launch last year, having already raised two rounds of funding (here and here) totalling nearly €4 Million from Index Ventures & CMC-CIC Capital Privé. The iPhone application was meant to fill in the much-needed gap in their offer (i.e: mobile), where local competitors like SNCF in France or Deutsche Bahn in Germany had already released respective iPhone apps; of course, Capitaine Train boasts its ability to find the cheapest price on routes serviced by multiple operators, something they argue cannot be done by any other service.
The iPhone application is beautiful, as is to be expected from the product-focused team. Facebook integration allows for single-click login after which users are met with the default screen seen to the right, similar to Capitaine Train’s web app. User information such as loyalty cards & passes, credit cards, and other information are saved directly into your profile, and the app keeps the number of clicks to check out as few as possible.
As one would have expected, the application was met with great enthusiasm by users – nearly 200 ratings in the first week in the app store alone – though, with great enthusiasm comes great disappointment. Small features like Passbook integration with iPhone 5S were buggy, according to user complaints via Twitter, though this seems more to indicate how fragmented the iPhone world is getting, as many of the issues seemed to be unique to the iPhone 5S.
Capitaine Train has begun facing pressure from competitors; UK-based Loco2 announced this month that they have integrated into the UK Rail System (seen on TechCrunch), something that Capitaine Train may seek to do in the future if it wants to provide a complete service for travellers going to and from the UK. And yet, both operators agree that, as the European Commission push national operators across Europe to open up access to their ticketing platforms, and as cross-border operators like Thalys & EuroStar become more common in Europe, the opportunity for Train travel startups will only multiply.
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