Input wanted: readers, give us your best TAP questions

It’s been almost a year since our last open call for questions relating to TAP, and since then a few significant milestones have been reached.

  • The most frequently asked question last year was, “Why isn’t there a cash purse available?” As regular readers know, cash purse – officially referred to as stored value – is now available and value can be added at all Metro ticket vending machines as well as online at taptogo.net.
  • Another big question from last year, “What’s the easiest way to get a day pass on a TAP card?” now has a better answer. TAP cards are now available for direct purchase at 22 ticket vending machines across the Metro system. Simply indicate you’d like to purchase a TAP card, choose an amount of value to add or a pass type, swipe your credit card or insert cash and voilà, a shiny new TAP card is spit out of the machine.

With these achievements have come a new set of questions that have popped up in various comment threads and on Twitter. We’d like to use this post to gather your questions so that we can present them to TAP staff and get a new set of answers.

With that in mind, leave your question as a comment to this post or, if you’re old school, send you question to sourcemetro@gmail.com.

Categories: Feedback, Policy & Funding

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30 replies

  1. Drinking and driving is a huge issue here in Los Angeles since LA is so vast and one doesn’t have the option to be able to take public transportation after the last Metro train. Would Metro consider keeping the Metro open till 2am on the weekends? I think this would save many lives.

  2. Why can’t the drivers sell tap cards? ESPECIALLY now with tourist season upon us.

    I ride the 750 to Red LIne which is also the Universal Studios bus and in the last 2 weeks I have told at least 4 different people about day passes/tap cards. Since they are going to Universal they can get them at the Red Line but seriously, why are the drivers not allowed to sell? Why do the drivers not assist tourists? (different post for different time, perhaps?)

  3. I would like to get a clear answer on why Metro cannot implement an automatic $6 (or soon $5) daily fare cap like other systems that uses Cubic.

    And don’t say it is a technical problem because we know it has nothing to do with the technology available. TAP is the same technology used in London, Hong Kong, and Singapore, which all have automatic daily fare cap.

    We want real answer, the root problem. Is it really related to the fact that there are no county-wide day pass as Steve implied in a previous story about TAP implantation? Don’t see what that has to do with Metro only day pass.

    Or a man-power resource issue? Does Metro have the staff devoted to working on TAP? I’ve always wondered about this because it took Metro 7 years to get to having cash purse available when that should have been the easiest part to implement.

    Or a lack of imagination issue? Does the people working on TAP for Metro been to other cities where daily fare cap feature work?

  4. The “EZ Pass” needs to be on a “TAP” card, so that it can be “tapped” as well on MTA buses, vs. taken out (slows boarding!), and shown! There also needs to be MORE PROMOTION OF TAP cards, so that fewer daily riders pay with the tons of change that they do! THIS REALLY IS A BOARDING BOTTLENECK!

  5. Umm, what happened to the “value remaining” section on taptogo.net? It was there two days ago showing how much I had in my TAP account, now it’s blank.

  6. What’s the schedule for requiring a pass when entering the subways? I mean, now that TAP cards are available, shouldn’t the turnstiles only open if you have a valid pass?

  7. The good people at 1866TAPTOGO and I can’t seem to figure this one out:

    My regular blue TAP card purchased last week at the Universal City station still isn’t in the system, can’t be managed through taptogo.net, and therefore can’t get its balance protected.

    They tried adding it to the system manually, but that didn’t stick; the system still doesn’t recognize the serial number and there’s no telling when that’ll change.

    A CSR last week explained to me that the TAP activity data from the TVMs has to be *manually uploaded* into the system, which takes a few days. Perhaps that’s the problem, they suggested.

    One helpful CSR this week decided to just mail me a new card, which she guaranteed would already be in the system when it got to me (since it was coming straight from them and not a TVM).

    Here’s my question(s): why not connect the TVMs to the TAP network and allow TVM-purchased cards to work as do cards purchased through the usual outlets?

    Also, why not allow people to purchase 30-day (or longer) passes, versus Monthly passes, to avoid such ridiculous lines at the beginning of every month?

    Thanks!

  8. Will the TAP system be integrated into Metro’s smartphone app? Will you be able to check your balance and add money/passes easily from your mobile device? Will you be able to use your phone as your TAP card with new NFC technology? Is it true that you can now add a day pass to your TAP card? Will there be education materials and a streamlined user interface to help all of this become adopted by the masses? Are these enough questions for you? 🙂

  9. You can not add value at TAPTOGO.net, I have been going to the website every day and it does not work. I also tried to add a TAP card that I have and I kept getting an error. I must say that METRO really needs to invest more money into their system, I find the website extremely unfriendly (I work in technology and must say that TAPTOGO.net needs SERIOUS amount of work) it is difficult to navigate and poorly designed. I would suggest for Metro to hold off from advertising any features before they are successfully implemented. Advertising TAP cards is also a great idea. Please let me know when will the TAPTOGO.net work and allow me to add value to my TAP car, and when will I be able to actually add my TAP card because for now no luck. Event emailing support and submitting a question to customer service was not working correctly. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE VERY IMPORTANT.

  10. Does the TAP system handle the fare for seniors correctly — charging 55 cents per ride at peak times and 25 cents at all other times?

  11. @Justin @Jakub

    Tell me about it! :rollseyes:

    My Starbucks Card is easier to reload than TAP shows what a poor job this agency is doing with regards to IT infrastructure. And I’m paying taxes for this?

    The IT guys at Metro should be replaced with guys handling Starbucks’ IT systems. Sheesh.

  12. when l buy my monthly pass, why can’t it be used RIGHT AWAY when the date isn’t the 1st???!!!!. sometimes l don’t need to use the bus for weeks and then l will need it for a whole month. If l need to use on the 15 or else of the month why can l buy it ON THAT DATE AND use it until the 15th of next month and so on? it’s a month. why do l have to lose my fees because l don’t need to use them? why the monthly pass has to start on the 1st of the month and end at the end of the same month? it’s VERY frustating!!!!!!!and it’s not always easy to find a near by store that sell the monthly pass since the one near buy stopped to sell them. l have to take 2 buses and it’s not very convenient. Hope the monthly fees can be buy and use from the date of purchase to the same date on the next month….

  13. Question: Why can’t Metro install ticket vending machines on the Metro Silver Line Stations? Many passengers are complaining the lack of TVM’s.

  14. When will LA Metro and Cubic recognize that a sizeable portion of LA Metro customers do not use English as their primary language and offer a TAP webpage in Spanish?

  15. Here is a question I submitted to the Regional TAP Service Center followed by their reply:

    I do a significant amount of purchasing via the internet for my company. Virtually every company that I purchase from has some type of account information retention associated with billing or payment. Some even have automatic billing. Unfortunately TAP retains nothing. Each time I renew I have to complete an order form with the same information each month. Is this process ever going to be updated to either allow automatic payments or retention of billing information?

    (Reply from TAP): At this time the Regional TAP Service Center does not have a reoccurring billing statement. And does not plan to have in the near future.

    My comment: It’s time for TAP to catch up with technology and improve customer service.

  16. When will I be able to use my TAP card – not only for a day pass – but for a single ride, if that’s all I am travelling that day?

    When I visited New York and obtained a Metro Card there, the turnstile charged me for one ride. Then if I took more rides that day, it charged for them, until the amount reached the All Day Pass amount, and then it stopped charging. Doesn’t that make sense? It was so user friendly! Why can’t we have that in LA?

  17. For ThomasS: I have been using stored value on my senior TAP since it was instituted a few weeks ago and, so far, the system has been flawless in charging the correct fare (i.e., 25 cents off-peak and 55 cents peak).
    The two major glitches I see with “stored value” are that there’s no daily cap (as several people have noted above) and, consequently, if you have both day passes and “stored value” on your TAP card, the card will, by default, think you’re using a day pass.

  18. On the the TAP website, there is still no option to purchase a reduced Monthly pass $14 Disabled on the website. I did ask about it last year. Whats up with that? Just because people with disabilities we don’t get that kind of an option? Another concern I have is my disabled Tap card will Expire on June 30 2011. I ran into an issue where I went to renew my Tap card I sent all the paper work in a month before that tap card expired then a week or too later I got a letter saying they could not process it because that card was still valid. I would want to do it in advance because While I wait to get my new Tap card I can use my existing Tap Card until it expires and then use the new one instead of applying after your old one expires and waiting for the new one to come. See What I am saying? Other than that The TaP card works great.

  19. Why even bother with “tap” cards or fares in the first place? Why is this the only city in the world that riders can ride for free unless by 1:100 of a chance (great odds by the way!) that someone will ask for a ticket? Not sure who EVER approved such a system where you don’t need some type of ticket to open / go through a gate to board a train but boy this person does the award for the year! I wish NYC and SF thought of this great plan. Oh wait …they didn’t because they actually want people to PAY for their riding their subway system. Also, why did you bother to install the equipment if it is not even activiated and required for all passengers? When are you going to set up turnstiles at the train stations along the blue line route? Perhaps this will make the blue line more pleasant and better to ride as it won’t be a “free ride” for people !

    It would also be nice to see the Sherrif come on the blue line in the afternoon more often to get rid of all of the vendors selling candy, drinks, dvds, and jewelry. It is obnoxious to see this on the train. Unless that is what Metro is trying to promote which perhaps it is as i’ve never seen anything done to discourage this.

    Please pass this on to your CEO as you appear to be clueless and unresponsive to the issues that are going on with the Blue line as they are getting worse everyday over the past 2+years I’ve been riding it. You are more than welcome to contact me at the email address provided for further.

  20. @Richard L

    “When will I be able to use my TAP card – not only for a day pass – but for a single ride, if that’s all I am travelling that day?”

    –They just implemented cash value to TAP. So you can add value to your card and take that single ride.

    “Then if I took more rides that day, it charged for them, until the amount reached the All Day Pass amount”

    –This I agree is one of the failing links in the system. They should be able to keep track of your rides until a day pass and not charge you anymore.

    sidenote: NYC got rid of their daypass last year.

  21. @Stella
    “It would also be nice to see the Sherrif come on the blue line in the afternoon more often to get rid of all of the vendors selling candy, drinks, dvds, and jewelry. It is obnoxious to see this on the train. Unless that is what Metro is trying to promote which perhaps it is as i’ve never seen anything done to discourage this.”

    I agree that this is a nuisance to see vendors coming into railcars to sell stuff, but I disagree about putting more transit officers to prevent these from happening. After all, this is a free market society so if there’s a business plan, there should be an alternative way to promote this.

    Why not have Metro rent out some of the open spaces at the stations businesses? You see this all over Japan, Korea, and Taiwan which bring in extra revenue to the transit agency. Have a 7-Eleven, Starbucks, or Famima! inside the subway stations. Many of our subway stations are vast empty lots (Wilshire/Vermont) and many of them also have vast empty lots near the stations themselves which could be used to say have a rent-a-bicycle store or something similar to Paris.

  22. The turnstile thing reminded me of one thing. Who in the brilliant mind thought it was a bright idea to put such a short space turnstile at the LAX/Aviation Station at the Green Line?

    Has it not occurred that people using that station will go to the airport with large bags and rollerboards? I saw a German couple who had to lift their heavy suitcases over the turnstile as it wouldn’t go through.

    Why even use turnstiles in this day and age when everyone is installing bidirectional wide space automatic fare gates these days? Turnstiles are too narrow, automatic fare gates are wider which allow bidirectional movement in each direction. Look at how BART and JR does their fare gates.

  23. I’d like to know why i have to tap each time I make a transfer from the blue line to the red line if I have a monthly pass. If a fare checker checks my pass they should see I have a monthly pass.

    Also, like everyone else has been saying, start locking the gates and turnstiles. It’s the only way you’re going to increase the adoption of the program.

  24. this isn’t about tap ~ it’s easier than in england when you have to slap your card coming out also. my problem is online, trying to find a way to get from here to there. the online responses from mta are to laugh at ~ they’ll send you all over the city. why can’t we use the bus numbers to let them know which buses we need?

  25. I purchased a TAP card before I signed up on the website. On the TAP website, there is no option to add a tap card. In other words, when I go to “my cards” it just shows an empty record but I cannot do anything because there is nowhere that I can add a new number or enter any information for a new card whatsoever. Is the site just broken or is there something I’m missing?

  26. To add a card you need to go to Protect my Balance>>>>from the tap home page when you sign in.

    There you can add your card.

    Seems like it should be more intuitive and better navigation.