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Metro Updating Fare Vending Machines, Sheriff Fare Check Devices, and App

New Metro vending machine screens to debut at Union Station this month. Image via Metro handout
New Metro vending machine screens to debut at Union Station this month. Image via Metro handout (updated to color 2:30pm)
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.

Metro The Source author Steve Hymon phantom reflection selfie in Metro's new TAP vending machine screen. Via Metro Instagram.
Steve Hymon reflection selfie in Metro's new TAP vending machine screen. Photo via Metro Instagram
Steve Hymon reflection selfie in Metro's new TAP vending machine screen. Via Metro Instagram.

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?

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