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Wristband transit passes to be tested in Pittsburgh

June 15, 2019

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Your wrist could be your bus pass.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County plans to begin testing “ConnectBands.”

The blue bracelets will work just like the ConnectCards already in use, according to the authority.

About 200 one-size-fits-all bands will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the downtown service center June 20, authority spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

“This is our first dive into wearables. That’s why we’re piloting it,” Brandolph told the Tribune-Review. “It’s a relatively small sample. It will give us a good indication of whether there’s an appetite in the community for an additional fare product.”

The ConnectCard is a reusable, plastic smart card customers can use to pay fares. Those who use them instead of cash save 25 cents on rides, and get rewards at participating merchants.

The bands “work just like the ConnectCard that you wear around your wrist,” Brandolph said. “The band is silicone or rubber, there’s a chip embedded into the band and you can tap them just like you can a ConnectCard.”

The cards can be bought and reloaded online and at certain light rail and busway stations, at the downtown service center and at participating retail outlets, including most Giant Eagle locations and all Goodwill retail stores in Allegheny County.

Like the card, the bands will be usable on any transit agency that is a ConnectCard partner, Brandolph said. That includes those in Butler, Westmoreland, Washington and Fayette counties, and Mid-Mon Valley.

The pilot will run for about a month. Those who get one and register it will get a survey asking about their experience using it and ask if they have suggestions for changes, including the color and fit.

Whether or not they go into widespread use will depend on the results of the test, Brandolph said.

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Information from: Tribune-Review, http://triblive.com

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