The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) began a test of its Total Access PATH Payment (TAPP), a new contactless tap-and-go fare payment system, at five turnstiles on the PATH commuter railroad. Expansion of the TAPP program is planned to occur in phases based on experience with the pilot turnstiles.
“Our customers have been asking for a tap-and-go fare payment system and PATH’s pilot of this new technology helps create a seamless experience that opens up travel options to more riders,” said PANYNJ Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “PATH stitches the region together, which is why it is important that the Port Authority must make historic investments in technology to ensure that remains the case well into the future.”
“This pilot program will allow us to put our new TAPP system through its paces before we roll it out to more stations and eventually systemwide,” said PANYNJ Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We are eager to move forward to make the TAPP tap-and-go fare payment system available to PATH riders as soon as possible.”
The five pilot TAPP turnstiles will be available to PATH riders at two PATH terminal stations, Journal Square in Jersey City and 33 St. in Manhattan. Turnstiles that are part of the TAPP pilot at the 33 St. station will be located at the terminal’s 30th St. entrance. The five turnstiles that are part of the TAPP pilot will feature colorful wraps to help passengers identify them from a distance. TAPP is an open-loop contactless payment system, which allows customers to use any contactless credit/debit card or the digital wallets in their own devices at PATH turnstiles, instead of specific PATH-issued SmartLink cards or pay-per-ride MetroCards.
Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. was awarded the agency’s contract to design and install the new TAPP system in November 2021 by the PANYNJ Board of Commissioners. The contract also included software development and installation, the purchase and installation of required equipment and upgrades and the implementation of all backroom processing capabilities necessary to support the new system.
Subject to the experience with the test turnstiles, the new equipment will be phased in over a 12- to 18-month period. During phase-in and for a substantial period thereafter, equipment supporting SmartLink and MetroCard will remain operational, as customers become familiar with the new system. New TAPP turnstiles will be installed gradually throughout the system.
PATH served 4.8 million riders in October 2023, which was the highest monthly total ridership since February 2020. Ridership has continued to increase from the nadir of the COVID-19 pandemic, with October average weekday ridership reaching 62 percent of the same metric in pre-pandemic October 2019. During pre-pandemic 2019, PATH served a record high of 284,380 average weekday riders.
“The TAPP pilot is the first step in an exciting transformation of our fare payment system, one designed to eventually provide faster, more accessible, and more convenient service for all of our riders,” said Clarelle DeGraffe, general manager and director of PATH.