TAP card caveat: these puppies expire after 3 years

Photo by waltarrrrr via Flickr.

Photo by waltarrrrr via Flickr.

The perils of being an early-adopter: I was recently surprised to discover that my 3 year old TAP card had expired.

And I’m not the only one. We received this tweet today:

@blinkie Tried to load my TAP card with a day pass and the machine said it expired. @metrolosangeles since when do they expire?

It’s a good question, and the answer is: since always. According section 9 of the TAP Cardholder Agreement (which you agree to upon first use of the card):

9.    CARD EXPIRATION
Each Card will expire approximately three (3) years after its date of issuance, except for Personalized Cards which will expire based on Cardholder’s period of verified eligibility.

I was vaguely aware of that TAP cards had a limited lifespan, but I wasn’t thinking about that last week when I added $40 to my card only to have a turnstile alert me that my card had expired (and my added value inaccessible) a few days later.

Not only are stored value and passes inaccessible on an expired card, according to the Cardholder Agreement:

“upon card expiration […] an administrative fee of $1 per month of Transit Stored Value will be deducted from any remaining Card Transit Stored Value balance.”

Yikes. So how do you take care of an expired card? Answer after the jump (you’re not going to like it).

According to TAP representatives, the only way to fix an expired card is to replace it… by buying a new one.

A new card will set you back $2 and if you had stored value or passes on your expired card you must call 1.866.TAPTOGO to have the cash or passes transferred to your new card.

Not ideal, I know. That’s why I recommend checking for the expiration date of your card to avoid any surprises.

How do you do that? You can register your card at taptogo.net (watch this tutorial on how to do just that) and you can find the expiration date of your card in the “My Cards” section of the website.  Alternatively you can check the expiration date at a Ticket Vending Machine (“View TAP status”) or by calling 1.866.TAPTOGO.