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How To Pay For The Path Train: A Step-By-Step Guide

Riding the PATH train is a convenient way to get around the New York City and New Jersey metro area. However, knowing how to pay for your PATH train ride can be confusing, especially if you’re a visitor or new to the region.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: You can pay for the PATH train with a SmartLink card, paper tickets purchased from vending machines in stations, or a contactless bank card or mobile wallet at select stations.

Most riders use SmartLink cards to take advantage of discounted fares.

Understanding PATH Train Fares and Payment Options

When it comes to paying for your PATH Train journey, there are several options available to you. Understanding the different fare options and payment methods can help make your travel experience smoother and more convenient.

Whether you’re a frequent commuter or a first-time visitor, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the PATH Train’s fare and payment system.

PATH Train

Single-ride fares

If you’re taking a one-time trip on the PATH Train, you have the option of purchasing a single-ride ticket. These tickets are valid for a single trip and can be bought at the ticket vending machines located at each station.

The fare for a single ride varies depending on your destination, so it’s important to check the fare chart available at the machines or on the official PATH Train website. Single-ride tickets are valid for two hours from the time of purchase and can only be used once.

SmartLink cards

If you’re a frequent commuter on the PATH Train, it may be more convenient for you to use a SmartLink card. SmartLink cards are reusable, reloadable cards that offer discounted fares compared to single-ride tickets.

They can be purchased and recharged at any PATH station using cash, credit, or debit card. The SmartLink card also allows for easy transfers between PATH and other participating transit systems, such as the New York City subway and buses.

To learn more about the benefits and how to obtain a SmartLink card, visit the official PATH Train website.

Paper tickets

In addition to single-ride tickets and SmartLink cards, the PATH Train also offers paper tickets as an alternative payment method. These tickets are similar to single-ride tickets but are made of paper instead of the usual magnetic stripe.

They can be purchased at the ticket vending machines and are valid for two hours from the time of purchase. However, paper tickets do not offer the same benefits as the SmartLink card, such as discounted fares or easy transfers.

Contactless payments

The PATH Train is also embracing modern payment technology by accepting contactless payments, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. This means that you can simply tap your smartphone or contactless credit/debit card on the fare gates to pay for your journey.

Contactless payments offer a convenient and secure way to pay, without the need for physical tickets or cards. Just make sure your device is enabled for contactless payments and linked to a valid payment method.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different fare and payment options available on the PATH Train, you can choose the method that suits your needs best.

Whether you opt for a single-ride ticket, SmartLink card, paper ticket, or contactless payment, rest assured that the PATH Train offers a reliable and efficient way to travel between New Jersey and New York City.

Contactless payments

How to Buy a SmartLink Card

If you frequently travel on the PATH Train, purchasing a SmartLink Card can make your journey much more convenient.

This reloadable card allows you to pay for your PATH fares quickly and easily. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to buy a SmartLink Card:

Purchase at stations

The most convenient way to buy a SmartLink Card is to purchase it at one of the PATH Train stations.

You can find SmartLink vending machines located at various stations throughout the system. These machines accept cash, credit, and debit cards, making it easy for you to load your card with the desired amount.

Simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete your purchase.

Load online

If you prefer the convenience of online shopping, you can also purchase and load your SmartLink Card on the official PATH Train website. Visit their website and navigate to the SmartLink Card section. Here, you can create an account and purchase your card online.

Once you have your card, you can easily add funds to it using your credit or debit card. This option is great for those who want to skip the lines at the station and have their card ready to use right away.

Register your card

While it is not mandatory to register your SmartLink Card, it is highly recommended. Registering your card offers several benefits, including protection against loss or theft. By registering your card, you can easily report it as lost or stolen and have the remaining balance transferred to a new card.

Additionally, registering your card allows you to set up automatic refills, ensuring that you never run out of funds when you need them most. To register your card, visit the PATH Train website and follow the instructions provided.

Remember, having a SmartLink Card not only saves you time, but it also offers discounted fares compared to paying with cash. So, whether you choose to purchase your card at the station or online, be sure to take advantage of this convenient payment option for your PATH Train travels.

Using Paper Tickets on the PATH Train

Purchase from station vending machines

If you’re planning to use paper tickets on the PATH Train, the first step is to purchase them from the station vending machines. These machines are conveniently located at all PATH stations and are easy to use.

Simply follow the instructions on the screen, select your destination, and choose the number of tickets you need. The machines accept cash, credit cards, and contactless payment methods, making it convenient for all passengers.

Don’t forget to collect your tickets and any change before proceeding to the next step!

Validate your ticket

Once you have purchased your paper ticket, the next important step is to validate it. Look for the ticket validators located near the turnstiles and insert your ticket into the designated slot. The validator will mark your ticket with the date and time of validation, ensuring that it is valid for the duration of your journey.

Remember, failure to validate your ticket may result in a fine or penalty, so be sure to complete this step before boarding the train.

For more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on using paper tickets on the PATH Train, you can visit the official PATH Train website. They provide comprehensive information about ticket types, fares, and any updates or changes to the ticketing system.

Paying with Contactless Cards or Mobile Wallets

Compatible contactless cards and devices

One convenient way to pay for the PATH Train is by using contactless cards or mobile wallets.

Contactless cards are traditional credit or debit cards that have a built-in chip and a wireless antenna. Mobile wallets, on the other hand, are digital wallets on smartphones that store payment information securely.

Both options provide a quick and easy way to pay for your PATH Train fare without the need for physical tickets or cash.

Most major credit card companies now offer contactless cards, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Additionally, many smartphones are equipped with mobile wallet capabilities, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

These mobile wallets can securely store your payment information and allow you to make contactless payments simply by tapping your phone on a compatible payment terminal.

It’s important to note that not all contactless cards and mobile wallets may be compatible with the PATH Train system. Before using your card or mobile wallet, make sure to check with your card issuer or mobile wallet provider to ensure compatibility.

Where to tap your contactless card or device

When using contactless cards or mobile wallets to pay for the PATH Train, you’ll need to tap your card or device at the designated payment terminals. These terminals can be found at the turnstiles or fare gates of each PATH Train station.

To pay with a contactless card, simply tap your card on the payment terminal and wait for the payment to be processed. Once approved, the turnstile will open, allowing you to enter the station.

If you’re using a mobile wallet, open the wallet app on your smartphone and hold it near the payment terminal. The payment will be processed, and you’ll be able to proceed through the turnstile.

It’s important to ensure that your contactless card or mobile wallet is properly activated and has a sufficient balance before using it to pay for the PATH Train. This will help avoid any issues or delays when tapping your card or device at the payment terminals.

Where to tap

Tips for Successfully Paying Your PATH Fare

When it comes to paying for your PATH train fare, there are a few tips that can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Whether you are a frequent commuter or a first-time rider, following these tips will save you time and make your journey more enjoyable.

Hold onto your SmartLink card

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to pay for your PATH fare is by using a SmartLink card. This reusable card allows you to load funds and use them to pay for your trips.

It’s important to hold onto your SmartLink card and keep it in a safe place, as losing it can be a hassle. If you do happen to misplace your card, contact PATH customer service immediately to report it and request a replacement.

Keep your paper ticket until you exit

If you prefer to use a paper ticket instead of a SmartLink card, it’s essential to hold onto your ticket until you exit your destination station. PATH train fares are based on the distance traveled, so you’ll need your ticket to exit through the fare gates.

If you lose your ticket before reaching your destination, you may be required to pay a penalty fare. To avoid this, make sure to keep your ticket in a secure place during your journey.

Check balances and reload cards in advance

Before you embark on your PATH journey, it’s a good idea to check the balance on your SmartLink card or the validity of your paper ticket. This will ensure that you have enough funds or a valid ticket for your trip.

If your SmartLink card is running low on funds, you can easily reload it at any PATH station or online. By staying proactive and checking your balances in advance, you can avoid any last-minute surprises or delays when trying to pay for your PATH fare.

For more information on PATH fares, schedules, and payment options, visit the official PATH website.


Riding the PATH train is a breeze when you understand the payment options and how to pay your fare properly.

SmartLink cards offer the best discounts and convenience for regular riders. Paper tickets work well for occasional trips.

Contactless payments provide a user-friendly option for riders without cards. With this guide, you can confidently pay your way on New Jersey and New York’s vital PATH train system.

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