Metro’s TAP card made two giant strides forward in recent days, with testing now underway on two key features: the ability to buy a TAP card directly from a ticket vending machine and to load a set amount of cash on the card and have the cost of riding deducted as you go.
Metro quietly began testing a couple of weeks ago on a single ticket vending machine in the Union Station Red/Purple Line station. It didn’t take long for several Source readers and the PlusMetro blog to find the machine, which sits at the far right on the bank of ticket machines on the Vignes side of the station.
Readers of The Source have long been clamoring for the ability to load TAP cards with set amounts of cash — called “stored value. It has become a fairly common feature in some regions that also use electronic fare cards and has always been a goal of the TAP program here.
How does it work? Let’s say Joe Transit puts $20 on his card and wants to ride the Red Line from downtown to Hollywood. Joe would just tap his TAP card when entering the subway station and $1.50 — the price of a single-ride ticket — would be deducted. That means Joe doesn’t have to spend time dealing with getting a ticket from the machines.
One question we expect to get from readers: How will stored value work with day passes?
The answer: A TAP card can hold both day passes as well as stored value. So if you plan to ride four or more trips in a single day, load a day pass from the ticket machine or inform the bus driver and the TAP card reader will automatically default to use the day pass to cover the cost of your trips for the day. Also, if you have money stored on the card, you can use those funds to pay for the day pass at the machine or farebox.
Also being tested is another useful feature: A TAP card can be bought directly from the ticket vending machine for two dollars. Cards are currently available for purchase on the taptogo.net website, from Metro customer service centers and 400 outlets around L.A. County. Having them available from the ticket machines makes it easier for everyone — in particular, tourists — to get one the day they need one.
One note: even if you buy a TAP card from the machine, it’s still advisable to visit the taptogo.net website to register the card in your name in case it’s ever lost or damaged. Also, you don’t need to buy a new TAP card to take advantage of stored value — it will work on your existing card if you have one.
The ability to purchase TAP cards is being expanded to 22 ticket machines in Metro Rail stations across the county — the list is after the jump. The agency is also presently expanding the ability to add stored value to a TAP card to all ticket machines in the Metro Rail system.
|Metro Blue Line||7th St/Metro Center (Blue)||Figueroa St. Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||7th St/Metro Center (Blue)||Flower St. Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Compton||Single Entrance – (1) South||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Del Amo||East Side of Entrance – East||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Florence||Single Entrance – (1) South||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Grand||East Entrance – (2)||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Imperial/Wilmington (Blue)||East Entrance – (2)||Reg TAP|
|Metro Blue Line||Willow||Single Entrance Station||Reg TAP|
|Metro Gold Line||Sierra Madre Villa||Single Entrance – (1) South||Reg TAP|
|Metro Gold Line||Union Station (Gold)||Single Entrance – West Side||Reg TAP|
|Metro Green Line||Norwalk||East Plaza||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||7th St/Metro Center (Red)||Hope St. Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Hollywood/Highland||Single Array||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Hollywood/Vine||Single Array||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||North Hollywood (Red)||Single Array||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Pershing Square||South Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Union Station (Red)||East Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Union Station (Red)||West Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Universal City||Single Array||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Vermont/Sunset||Rotunda Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Westlake/MacArthur Park||South Entrance||Reg TAP|
|Metro Red Line||Wilshire/Western||Single Array||Reg TAP|