Hop is here, and you can now pick up a card at the store and tap to pay your fare. For riders used to paying in cash or buying paper tickets, this is a huge improvement — Hop cards come with benefits like Auto-Load, fare capping and lost-card protection, and they can be reloaded in any number of ways, including with cash.
But one group of riders has been harder to convince to switch to Hop — and for good reason. TriMet Tickets app users love being able to pay with their phone because it’s easy, quick and convenient. Why mess with a good thing?
You can use Hop with just your phone — no card required — and it might actually be easier than using the app.
All you need is a debit or credit card loaded into Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. (Note that you aren’t loading a Hop card into your phone’s mobile wallet.) Then when you’re ready to go, just tap your phone on the reader at the station or on the bus. After a split second you’ll see the green check appear on the reader, and you’re good to go.
It’s that easy. When you pay with your phone, you don’t need to buy your fare in advance or remember to activate your tickets. In fact, you don’t even need to open an app.
Note that your phone is your proof of payment, so keep it handy (and charged!) in case a fare inspector asks to see it.
And even though you’re not using a Hop card, you’ll still be able to earn a day pass as you ride — perhaps Hop’s biggest benefit. For most TriMet riders, your first tap will cost $2.50 and will let you ride for 2½ hours. If you tap again after that, you’ll pay another $2.50, but your fare will be valid for the rest of the day (you’ve earned a day pass).
So, unlike with the TriMet Tickets app, you don’t need to choose which type of fare to buy before you ride, and you’ll only ever pay for the rides you actually take.
There are a couple limitations to paying with your phone. For one, only Adult fares are available. If you use Honored Citizen or Youth fares, you’ll need to get an actual Hop card. The other catch is that you won’t be able to earn a month pass this way — if you’re a daily rider, a physical card is the way to go.
So next time you ride, skip the app and try tapping your phone — you’ve just found a better way to pay.