Transit riders are doing their part to protect themselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it's by wearing masks or physically distancing while on board, taking precautions have become commonplace for bus and rail passengers. Technology is also helping those efforts with these mobile apps that are making transit riding even safer.
Apple Wallet and TAP LA
The safety of contactless payments has come to Metro and 25 other transit systems in Los Angeles County as TAP cards can now be added to Apple Wallet. Once a card has been loaded, just wave your iPhone or Apple Watch near a TAP dial and your fare will be deducted. You don't even have to use Face ID, Touch ID, or wake your device, it just needs to be powered on.
There's also a new TAP LA app for iPhone where you can transfer existing plastic TAP cards to Apple Wallet, manage your TAP account, and buy passes.
The ability to pay fares using Android phones will be coming this fall.
Transit is Metro's official app and a great tool for planning your trip with real-time ETAs and vehicle locations. It will also let you know how full your bus will be based on predictions from past rides. Just tap on the bus icon and crowding levels will show up with one of three designations:
- "Usually many seats available" means that 0-33% of seated capacity is being used.
- "Usually seats available" means that 34-85% of seated capacity is being used.
- "Usually standing room only" means that 85% or more of seated capacity is being used.
The predictions are based on the most recent ridership trends, with data collected in the prior two weeks from automated passenger counters on Metro buses. In testing the feature, Metro found the estimates from Transit to be accurate more than four out of five times when they performed spot checks.
For riders of the commuter rail system, Metrolink's app makes it possible to buy a pass and activate it before boarding, making the ticketing process entirely contact free. You can also check schedules and service alerts, and use the How Full is My Train tool to see how much room there is for physical distancing.
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