Metro Board moves to lock gates at Metro Rail stations within next six months

The Board approved a motion by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky asking Metro staff to plan to lock the gates at Metro Rail stations within the next five or six months.

“I think the evidence is resounding and clear — there are a lot of people who have been avoiding paying their fares,” said Yaroslavsky. “We’re talking about millions of dollars here” in terms of lost revenue.

Yaroslavsky also disputed previous reports suggesting the fare evasion rate is as low as three percent.

Metro tested locking the gates at a variety of subway stations last year. Here’s a staff report about the tests — in which Metro staff said that revenues greatly increased when the gates were locked.

The Metro Board also approved a motion by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar to establish a working group of three TAP-enabled muni bus operators, three non-TAP enabled munis and Metro executive staff. The group will be charged with solving issues that are preventing some agencies from adopting TAP cards as a form of fare payment.

The more agencies that use TAP, of course, the easier it will be to have a regional fare system and to ensure that all passengers get through gates on the Metro system.

Metro is still working with Metrolink and other agencies to make commuter rail and EZ passes TAP-enabled. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks. 

39 replies

  1. I use the EZ Pass w/o TAP and it works really well. If you close the gates, you need to staff the stations with agents until the county gets everyone on board w/TAP.


  2. A better way TAP could’ve been implemented is to implement compatibility and interchangeability of many different RFID systems to be shared with different municipal agencies own systems, similar to how Suica is accepted at PASMO locations and vice-versa.

    This would’ve solved the issue of spending so much time bringing everyone on board TAP and instead, where Santa Monica’s own RFID card program would be used interchangeably on Metro and Culver City’s TAP and vice-versa, Metrolink’s own RFID program could’ve been used for both TAP to connect with Metro and even with San Diego’s NCTD Coaster.

    These cards are made by the same company, Cubic, anyway; compatibility issues of different transit agencies should be possible. In that light even the San Diego Compass Card and San Francisco’s Clipper Cards can interchangeably work with TAP here in LA and vice-versa.


  3. The body of the post is clear Metro is convening a “working group” of 4 LA County Non-TAP “munis” and 4 TAP Compliant agencies to see what it would take to get the rest of the LA County agencies to commit to TAP. Once that happens EZ Pass can go on TAP as it a Metro Fare Product.

    Metrolink is more complex as it serves six SOCAL counties and each county’s transit authority or district has or is planing a smartcard fare product and Metrolink offers transfer to those agencies as well so they my need to accept 6 differernt smart card one for each county agency.

    Too bad Transit Smartcards were no statutorily required to compatible across California as the the FasTrack for bridges and toll roads were. Because of the requirement a FasTrack transceiver issued by the Bay Area MTC/Toll Authority can be used on a the NORCAL Toll Bridges and the OC Toll Roads and vice versa.


  4. @CC – I realized after I submitted my first comment that I should have mentioned the chip, in addition to or instead of the mag stripe.

    Can a chip just be added to the EZ Pass? That way you tap where necessary, or else show the pass to the bus driver or conductor. Admittedly, I have not actually seen an EZ Pass yet – I have just started riding the bus, and will purchase my first pass this weekend. If it’s just a piece of paper, it could be reinforced or lightly laminated to protect the chip …


  5. “Many of us that you don’t see tapping do so because we have paper passes that you do not tap (e.g. EZ Pass). Otherwise, there will be many of us with valid fares that cannot access the system because we do not have TAP cards.”

    And I’m not purchasing a TAP card to participate in this debacle.


  6. @ Mark Panitz: The “zillions of other transit agencies that have turnstiles” that Steven P. refers to also staff each station. Metro does not have that budgeted in the turnstile-debacle. If Metro has to staff full time the 40-odd stations that have turnstiles, other services will have to be cut; maybe your bus?

    You really ought to ask
    Zev Yaroslavsky
    821 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
    500 West Temple Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    T (213) 974-3333
    F (213) 625-7360

    Because as best I can tell, you and other disabled customers of Metro are about to return to the status of second-class citizens.


  7. @Erik G.
    If budget and funding is an issue to staff people at stations, then Metro should again, follow the examples of zillions of other transit agencies on how they found other ways to earn additional revenue to hire and staff people.

    Many have brought up good ideas for this, including adding more station services and amenities like newspaper stands, convenience stores, and retailers INSIDE the station. They add more eyes for additional layer of security, it helps the local economy, it creates jobs, they bring in additional revenue to Metro in forms of rental income and profit sharing.

    For every question Metro has, places like Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong has had the answers for decades. Go ask them for advice.

    Metro: “What about people with no hands?”
    Answer: “Go ask Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong on how they tackle with that issue”

    Metro: “They added station staff to deal with that but we don’t have funding to do this. Where is the funding going to come from?”
    Answer: “Go ask Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong how they found additional revenue earning opportunities to hire more staff.”

    Metro: “What about…”
    Answer: “Go ask Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong…”