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Metro Is Testing Out Wearable TAP Card Wristbands

Prototype. (Photo courtesy of Metro)
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Have you ever missed your train while feverishly fumbling through your wallet for your TAP card? Well, the days of commute-busting purse searches could soon be a thing of the past.

Metro, which operates the majority of bus and rail service in Los Angeles County, is currently testing out a prototype TAP card wristband, which would allow riders to pay their fares using the wearable device. TAP cards are the contactless smart cards that the transit agency uses for fare payment and electronic ticketing. They've been in use for about a decade and are necessary for rail and light-rail travel (bus riders can still pay with cash or coin, though we advise you bring exact change as you won't be getting any back). The wristband prototype was introduced at a Metro committee meeting on Wednesday.

Metro spokesman Rick Jager told LAist that the wristband prototype is in the "very early" stages of development, and that it's currently being tested out in the disability community. "Approximately 20 to 25 disabled individuals are currently actually testing them on buses and trains," Jager told LAist. "It started about a week ago." The individuals testing the wristbands will share their likes and dislikes to help further develop the product.

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Photo illustration by Julia Wick/LAist (Source images courtesy of Metro)
Oberthur Technologies of America designed the prototype, and provided Metro with the samples to use for testing. Jager told LAist that it was too early in the process to estimate how much they might cost riders, and that the earliest they might be available would be winter.

Streetsblog LA reports that a plan for TAP payment via mobile phone will be presented at next month's Metro committee meeting.

[h/t: Streetsblog LA]