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Metro’s TAP card system is getting a major upgrade

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You’ll eventually be able to pay Metro fares via smartphone

Metro is developing software for loading TAP cards and paying fares via smartphone.
Oran Viriyincy via Flickr Creative Commons

With all the talk of Metro’s future plans for subway tunnels and transit lines, one small piece of Metro infrastructure is often overlooked, the trusty TAP card. But this week TAP is finally getting a bit of the spotlight.

According to Metro’s blog, the The Source, Metro’s TAP fares are going digital.

The transit agency is setting the ball in motion to create software that will push TAP cards into the smartphone age. Cubics, the company handling TAP technology, is developing Nextlink, a “cloud-based connection system,” that will link the existing TAP fare infrastructure to an upcoming mobile payment app. The app is expected to be released, “as early as 7-9 months from the start of development.”

From there, the TAP card’s days might actually be numbered. The next step in the software’s evolution is to include the ability to pay fares straight from a “Virtual TAP card” via a smartphone app.

Metro’s Nextlink system will eventually allow mobile fare payments for a broad spectrum of transit services.
Image via Metro

No set timeline has been put in place for the TAP upgrade, but a newly extended contract with Cubics lasts through December 2024.