Two Metro staff reports have been dispatched to the Metro Board of Directors about the TAP program. Taken together, they include some interesting nuggets about the expansion of the electronic fare cards.
The first report is an update on Metro’s TAP system. Among the highlights:
•Expect to see a ramp up soon of promotional materials for the Visa debit cards that also serve as TAP cards.
•Five stations now have gates that will light up when someone fails to TAP. Among those are the Hollywood/Highland and North Hollywood Red Line stations.
•There are now about 100 cell phone devices — called fare validators — in the field with sheriff’s deputies that can be used to ensure that someone who said they tapped their TAP card actually did.
•A pilot program is scheduled to begin in December to sell TAP cards at a limited number of ticket vending machines at Metro Rail stations.
The second report looks at a broader issue, the regional fare system and some of the technological hurdles involved in getting all of L.A.’s transit agencies to use TAP.
The big highlight of this report is that it says that plans are for Metro to begin using stored value on TAP cars in the second quarter of next year. Stored value would allow customers to — as the name implies — put an amount of their choosing on a TAP card and then have fares deducted from that amount. It would be very convenient for those who don’t buy passes, but want the convenience of having a TAP card.