By Joe Linton, January 15, 2015
New Metro vending machine screens to debut at Union Station this month. Image via Metro handout
Metro is in the processing of updating some of its TAP (Transit Access Pass) card technology.
Speaking before the Metro board of directors Finance, Budget, and
Audit Committee yesterday, Metro TAP Deputy Executive Director David
Sutton announced that, beginning later this month, Metro will debut its
new vending machine interface. The new TVM (TAP Vending Machine) screen,
shown above and at Metro’s Instagram, will be simpler and easier to use. This month it will be implemented at Union Station Red Line vending machines.
Sutton also announced that Metro has developed new fare checking devices, used by law enforcement to check TAP cards. Metro’s 2014 audit of the Sheriff’s (LASD) performance criticizes current mobile phone fare validators as slow and “highly prone to errors in reading TAP cards.” The
new TAP validator enables “faster, more accurate fare inspection.” It
is a new smart-phone based application, so it will also be easier to
adapt to add new features.
The new fare check devices had been supposed to be in use last July, but had not been implemented as of late September 2014.
At this morning’s Metro Ad Hoc
Policing Oversight Committee meeting, Metro Deputy Executive Officer for
Protective Services Duane Martin implied that the new fare devices are
now in use. In reviewing recent Metro accomplishments in response to
last year’s LASD audit, Martin claimed that “we [Metro] have a new
mobile phone validator.”
If readers spot the new vending machines and new TAP validators “in the field” let us know via comments.
Also, according to Sutton, this week Metro is releasing a Request for
Proposals (RFP) for development of a new smart phone app. Initially the
“no- or low cost pilot” app will allow people to use their smart phone
for credit card purchases to add money to a linked TAP card. In future
phases, Metro riders will be able to use smart phones to pay fare. This
kind of smart phone payment system is used in Seoul, South Korea. Are
any readers familiar with it on transit systems in any other places?