beanz Magazine

Portland HOP

Shou-Hui Wang on Flickr

With these new high-tech cards, public transit is easier than ever.

Do you ever take public transit, like buses or light rail? If you do, how do you pay for it? Do you use tickets, cash, or something else? That may not seem like the kind of place where there’d be interesting technology and software, but in my city of Portland, Oregon, our transit system, TriMet, just rolled out a really cool new way to pay for transit fare that’s personally made my life a lot easier! That’s the Hop Fastpass system and I’ll be talking about it and the technology behind it for the rest of the article.

First off, I cannot drive so I need to use public transit every time I want to go somewhere that isn’t walking distance. Until last year, when Hop was rolled out, I needed to either keep cash on me or use the ticketing app on my phone: one meant frequent trips to the ATM to make sure I had something to use while the other meant that my phone had to be as charged as possible before leaving the house. Those aren’t terrible responsibilities, but definitely mildly stressful when running errands or going to work.

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