EZ passes moving to a new home on TAP

Here’s a new Metro release on the move of EZ passes from paper onto TAP. The migration begins Sept. 1 but senior/disabled patrons have until Nov. 1 to apply for and receive their new ID cards. Application forms can be downloaded from the web but also are available at Metro Customer Centers and pass outlets all over the region.

The EZ transit pass — the monthly pass good for travel on 25 different public transit carriers throughout Los Angeles County — will begin the transition from paper to TAP cards Sept. 1, making it easier for customers to travel without transfers, renew their passes each month and replace their cards, should they be lost of stolen. The EZ transit pass is one of the last paper passes to transition to smart card technology.

The EZ transit pass will be electronically loaded onto the familiar blue TAP card for regular riders or the orange Reduced TAP ID card for senior and/or disabled riders.  A stamp with the month, year and zone designation will be affixed to the front of each card so that the card can be visually inspected on non-TAP systems.

To help customers with the transition, the new reusable TAP cards will be free for a limited time with the purchase of an EZ transit pass.

The move from EZ transit pass paper passes to TAP will continue until Nov. 1 for senior and disabled patrons to give them extra time to apply for and receive their new reduced-fare TAP ID cards. Applications can be downloaded from the web at metro.net/riding/fares/senior.  They also are available at all Metro Customer Centers and pass sales outlets.

The new EZ transit passes on TAP will make it easier to renew the passes each month. When an EZ transit pass expires, another pass can be loaded onto the card at a pass sales outlet, or at the official TAP website: taptogo.net. There will be no need to purchase a new TAP card each month because the card can be used again and again for up to three years.  Customers can protect their cards and their pass or stored value balance from loss by requesting balance protection by calling 1.866.TAPTOGO (1.866.827.8646).  The card and balance can be replaced for just $5.

EZ transit pass fares are $84 per month, or $35 for senior/disabled patrons. Although there is no extra charge for transfers between participating carriers, in some cases there are zone charges, which will be addressed as they are now, either by paying for a monthly pass with zones, or by paying the zone fare when boarding, either in cash or with stored value loaded onto the TAP card. (Bus operators will notify patrons, should zone charges pertain.)

EZ transit passes are sold at Metro Customer Centers and nearly 600 participating vendors  region-wide, including Nix Check Cashing, Continental Currency Services and selected Ralph’s markets. Search EZ transit pass outlets on taptogo.net to find a convenient location near you.

 

UPDATE: Here are the answers to three questions readers have been asking —

1. The EZ Pass sticker needed for your TAP card will be mailed to those who buy the pass online.

2. Because the EZ Pass needs a sticker, they are not available at Metro ticket machines.

3. The EZ Pass can be loaded onto an existing TAP card. You don’t need to buy a new card to get the pass.

Categories: Transportation News

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39 replies

  1. Will we now be able to load a new pass each month at Metro ticket vending machines? I always seem to be frantically running to a sales outlet before they close on the last day of the month.

    Also, I love that you can pay for express service with money that has been stored on TAP, but then I remembered the only express bus I really use is Big Blue Bus Rapid 10, but they still aren’t on TAP. They really need to get with the program, especially now. I know you can’t speak for them, but does BBB ever plan on installing TAP boxes?

  2. Sorry, 2 more questions. It says the pass can be loaded at the TAP website, but then how do we get the sticker? And also, I already have a TAP card. Can I use that one to load the pass, or do I need to get a new card?

  3. “A stamp with the month, year and zone designation will be affixed to the front of each card so that the card can be visually inspected on non-TAP systems. ”

    So where and how do you get this sticker? Do people actually have to trod on over and visit a Metro Customer Center just to get this stamp? And how fool proof is this stamp? What’s stopping from a person from getting a hold of a stamp, scanning it, and printing one on their own? How much does it cost taxpayers to produce these stamps?

    “There will be no need to purchase a new TAP card each month because the card can be used again and again for up to three years. Customers can protect their cards and their pass or stored value balance from loss by requesting balance protection by calling 1.866.TAPTOGO (1.866.827.8646). The card and balance can be replaced for just $5.”

    EXPIRATION DATES AND BOGUS FEES ARE ILLEGAL IN CALIFORNIA.

    “EZ transit pass fares are $84 per month, or $35 for senior/disabled patrons. Although there is no extra charge for transfers between participating carriers, in some cases there are zone charges, which will be addressed as they are now, either by paying for a monthly pass with zones, or by paying the zone fare when boarding, either in cash or with stored value loaded onto the TAP card. (Bus operators will notify patrons, should zone charges pertain.)”

    What other transit agency does this? Why is Metro doing things that makes things so confusing?

  4. It would be great if you could load your Tap card in real time from your home computer and use it immediately. You can do this with a Starbucks card. Why not tap.

  5. its already been asked, but i figure asking again just adds importance to the question…..where do we get these stickers from

  6. What if a new Student [K-12 or College Vocational] denomination of an EZ transit pass is created as it should be?! A new full week EZ transit pass? A new all day EZ transit pass?

  7. This is plainly stupid.

    Everyone should just standardize on a single set of fares. That’s how it’s done over in Asia than all these different rules between different agencies. It just makes things more confusing than it’s supposed to be easy.

    Why not just get together, come to an agreement on “what is the cost of public transit per mile” and use distance based fares? It’s much more easier that way than with all these different passes, exceptions, and what not. It’s like you need a manual just to decipher the whole thing! Sheesh.

  8. EZ pass is not going to be available from the Metro ticket vending machines anyway because it comes with a monthly sticker for the non-tap systems. Only the Metro Passes (1 day, 7 days, and 30 days) and the stored value are available from the Metro ticket vending machines. So if you want to load an EZ pass onto TAP, the only way is that you need to do it online or in person at the sale outlets.

  9. Can you have two different “accounts” on one TAP card? For example, could I have a Foothill Transit Pass AND have some cash purse so I can use MTA as needed?

    When I TAP, by default, which one will it take should I have more than two “accounts” on one card? And if I am riding MTA Rail, how will they know I “tapped” correctly? How will I know if I tapped using my cash purse, and not my regular Foothill Transit Pass?

  10. M. Smith:

    In my experience (and this is only on Metro busses/trains, but I assume it will work the same for Foothill and others), the system will automatially look for a valid pass first. So starting at the top, if you have an EZ Pass, a month, week, or day pass for the respective agency, it will go to those first. If no valid pass is found, it will then deduct from the cash purse as a “last resort” option.

  11. UPDATE: Here are the answers to three questions readers have been asking —

    1. The EZ Pass sticker needed for your TAP card will be mailed to those who buy the pass online.

    2. Because the EZ Pass needs a sticker, they are not available at Metro ticket machines.

    3. The EZ Pass can be loaded onto an existing TAP card. You don’t need to buy a new card to get the pass.

    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source

  12. “1. The EZ Pass sticker needed for your TAP card will be mailed to those who buy the pass online.”

    So Metro wastes money on mailing these things out (price of forever stamp x number of EZ Pass holders each month = all paid for with your tax dollars), with no idea how long it’s going to take for the mail to arrive in this day and age, keeping people anxious because this stupid sticker may not arrive until the 3rd or 4th day of the new month, without regards that stamps costs continue to rise because like any other inefficient government agency the post office has no clue how to run a business, in this day and age eleven years into the 21st century.

    BRILLIANT.

    And do you know any other transit agency in the world that does this? No one. Gee I wonder why.

    And you guys expect LA to win out the Olympics bid with other cities? Ha!

  13. I’m keeping my fingers crossed concerning paying the zone fare with the tap. Do you know if it is done automatically when you first TAP? As it is now on the Silver Line, you need to pay 95 cents and it is very rare that only 95 cents gets taken off your stored value. Even though the drivers press the no. 5 button it rarely works the full fare $2.45 is routinely extracted from my TAP. There is a process to get your 1.50 refunded on the mta site but it usually takes a week to get your money back. Some of the drivers on MTA will bluff you to TAP or bully you to hurry up (It’s not our fault they don’t learn what to do)

    But, overall I’m really jazzed this is finally happening. It’s going to save so much if I lose the pass like 3 times already!

  14. soooooo…..as long as I ride on a bus that accepts TAP (I’m looking at you Culver City) I can load my TAP at a vending kiosk and be able to ride to my little hearts content without the sticker?

  15. EZ pass is not going to be available from the Metro ticket vending machines anyway because it comes with a monthly sticker for the non-tap systems. Only the Metro Passes (1 day, 7 days, and 30 days) and the stored value are available from the Metro ticket vending machines. So if you want to load an EZ pass onto TAP, the only way is that you need to do it online or in person at the sale outlets.

  16. Why can’t all the transit agencies just get together and standardize the fares? I think that’ll be so much easier than trying to deal with all these confusions that do not benefit the transit rider.

  17. Charles K., the story of the various transit agencies in this county and their relationship is complex and often is more about turf than the needs of users. I know Metro CEO Art Leahy appreciates just what you are asking about but given certain realities standardization isn’t in the cards anytime soon.

  18. Something some of us activists are wondering is how will this work in areas of the county that are dominated by munis that heretofore have not accepted TAP (Santa Monica, Long Beach and Torrance). Will TAP outlets in those area be able to load an EZ pass and have the stickers? How about the transit stores of the three munis? I have heard a rumor they will be supplied with pre-loaded cards or will be supplied equipment to load TAP cards. Any word what solution is contemplated for these special outlets that I don’t believe until now handled TAP cards?

    • Hi Dana —

      Here are the answers to your questions:

      Will TAP outlets in those area be able to load an EZ pass and have the stickers? YES

      How about the transit stores of the three munis? ALL THREE WILL BE SELLING THE EZ PASS ON TAP.

      I have heard a rumor they will be supplied with pre-loaded cards or will be supplied equipment to load TAP cards. Any word what solution is contemplated for these special outlets that I don’t believe until now handled TAP cards? THEY WILL HAVE A COMPACT POINT OF SALE DEVICE CAPABLE OF SELLING ANY EZ TRANSIT PASS PRODUCT.

      Hope that helps,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  19. Will paper tickets still be available for visitors and occasional users? We like to eat at restaurants downtown L.A. and Hollywood. We take the Gold Line from Pasadena, perhaps once a month. Will we seniors (and visitors) still have this option of just one round trip ride, or must we now load a monthly amount on a TAP card?

    • Hi Lynda;

      There will be no more paper tickets for Metro Rail. The best bet is to buy a TAP card at a Metro Rail ticket machine — they are $1 — and to occasionally load enough money on the card to cover your single-trip fares or to purchase a day pass, when appropriate (for example, if you were taking the Gold Line and Red Line from Pasadena to Hollywood). I think you’ll find the TAP card is pretty convenient.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  20. Dana,

    “the story of the various transit agencies in this county and their relationship is complex and often is more about turf than the needs of users.”

    Basically what you’re saying then is that political games overrule the needs of transit riders. I don’t see how this will attract any riders when everyone is getting sick of wasteful spending of taxes and childish political games.

  21. Mr. Hymon, thanks for the informative response.

    Charles K, from where I am it is exaggerated to speak of “everyone is getting sick of wasteful spending of taxes and childish political games”. Things often look different depending on where you stand. And I always don’t take anything too seriously, including myself.

  22. Dana,

    Sorry Dana, but just like you said, not everyone shares the same sentiment. You maybe fine with wasteful tax spending stemming from childish political games but I’m not. I’d rather start seeing my taxes decrease. Politicians need to get their act in order and start working together instead of playing “I want my toy all for myself” with billions of our taxpayer money. I betcha the majority of the local politicians in LA don’t even ride the public transit themselves.

  23. What was the whole point of converting spending so much tax money and labor costs to move TAP cards? If you still need a sticker to show a bus driver that you have a pass, what’s the difference in just showing a paper bus pass?

    What a horrible waste of tax dollars.

  24. How does this affect Metrolink riders? Last I checked we all get a paper ticket. Will I be able to get through the turnstiles?

    • Hi Gene;

      Yes, you will absolutely be able to get through the turnstiles. From a recent Metro news release: “Your Metrolink paper ticket is still good for entry to the Metro system. Metro and Metrolink continue to work on the best way to get Metrolink on the TAP system.”

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  25. Going back through previous comments, I still have some questions that are not answered (or not answered clearly):

    1. What is the deadline for ordering an EZ Pass online to receive the sticker in time for the first of the next month?

    2. I usually pick up my EZ Pass at my local Ralph’s. Will they now be loading EZ Passes onto TAP cards at Ralph’s (and providing the sticker)?

    3. Is this starting NOW, in that there will be no paper passes available for September?

    • Hi Kythera;

      My apologies in the delay in getting you these answers from Metro staff, which I hope you find helpful:

      1. What is the deadline for ordering an EZ Pass online to receive the sticker in time for the first of the next month? The 14th of the month.
      2. I usually pick up my EZ Pass at my local Ralph’s. Will they now be loading EZ Passes onto TAP cards at Ralph’s (and providing the sticker)? Yes
      3. Is this starting NOW, in that there will be no paper passes available for September?
      Yes. Sales begin on the 25th. Only senior/disabled EZs will be available through October. Regular EZ converts in Sept.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks so much for your replies.

        Your answers to my questions 1 and 3 leave me with a new 4:

        You mentioned that the cut-off for receiving the sticker by the 1st of the month is to order by the 14th of the previous month. Being that this blog was posted on the 16th of August, does that mean that anyone who wanted a September (regular) EZ Pass (and who requires the sticker) would need to purchase one in person?

        At least, that’s the understanding I’m getting. It seems like some awkward and perhaps poor timing, but at least I know I can still rely on my local Ralph’s (there’s so little information on the TAP website regarding EZ Passes, I don’t trust placing orders through it at all).

        • Hey Kythera;

          The regular EZ pass begins the conversion to TAP next month; the release was intended to prompt senior and disabled passengers to begin the application process. So no need to get a sticker right now. I’ll do another post soon that will hopefully better explain the rollout. I agree there is little useful info online at this time.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • Hi again, Steve,

            Thanks much. I can report, though, that I went to Ralph’s this afternoon, and they only had the stickers (on the upside, this means I did, in fact, get my pass loaded on my TAP card, AND the sticker for September, so there’s really not much change to my usual routine). If I haven’t mentioned it, thanks for being on top of answering questions. It’s greatly appreciated. :]

  26. If you want to load an EZ Pass onto TAP online to ensure to receive a sticker before the 1st of a following month, you need to do it on the 18th of a current month, not on the 14th of a current month because if you add an EZ Pass prodcut online on the 14th of a current month, the product is only valid for the rest of that month, it is not going to rollover to a following month.

  27. If you want to load an EZ Pass onto TAP online to ensure to receive a sticker before the 1st of a following month, you need to do it on the 18th of a current month, not on the 14th of a current month because if you add an EZ Pass product online on the 14th of a current month, the product is only valid for the rest of that month, it is not going to rollover to a following month.
    (Revised)