The Port Authority will introduce its new tap-to-pay fare system for the PATH Train to commuters this week, testing new turnstiles equipped with the technology that the agency has appropriately dubbed “TAPP.”
TAPP, which stands for “Total Access PATH Payment,” will be deployed starting Tuesday, Dec. 5, on five PATH turnstiles at 33rd Street in Manhattan and Journal Square in Jersey City for a “real-world test” of contactless payment for the mass transit service connecting New York and New Jersey.
“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 Rick Cotton, the Port Authority’s executive director. “We are eager to move forward to make the TAPP tap-and-go fare payment system available to PATH riders as soon as possible.”
TAPP will allow commuters to pay the PATH fare, which costs $2.75, by tapping their credit card, debit card, or the digital wallet on their phone, similar to the MTA’s OMNY system. Currently, PATH accepts payments via MetroCard or its dedicated SmartLink card, which riders can tap on a reader affixed to the turnstile.
Assuming the pilot goes well, the Port Authority plans to deploy TAPP to all of the PATH’s turnstiles over the following eighteen months. Riders will still be able to pay with a MetroCard or SmartLink card for a while afterward.
TAPP was developed and is being installed by Cubic, the California firm that also developed the MetroCard, SmartLink, and OMNY. The Port Authority inked a $100 million contract with Cubic in 2021 to develop the new contactless payment system.
In 2019, the Port Authority said it was in talks with the MTA to adopt OMNY on the PATH train, integrating the two rapid transit providers. But a spokesperson for the Port Authority said Monday that it opted to pursue its own contactless system because agency honchos were uncertain when OMNY would be expanded beyond the MTA’s borders.
“Given the MTA’s pending phase-out of the Metrocard — accepted across the PATH system — the Port Authority made it a priority to have a tap-and-go payment system installed as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said. “For cost-efficiency and timeline certainty, we contracted directly with the same technology provider that OMNY uses, Cubic, which will also make it easier to address future maintenance issues.”
OMNY was first introduced to the MTA in 2019, and was installed on all city buses and subway turnstiles by the end of 2020. The MTA doesn’t intend to fully phase out the MetroCard for at least 18 months, agency honchos said in October.
In October, the Port Authority began installing OMNY readers on the JFK AirTrain, which connects to the subway and Long Island Rail Road.