First, some good news: A number of changes are in the works for Metro ticket machines.
Among them: allowing customers to purchase stored value amounts of $3 (for those taking round-trips), new messaging on the machines to help customers make their first purchase, as well as some minor changes in the way fares are described in order to make it easier to understand.
In addition, several other notable changes are proposed by Metro staff as part of a contract modification with Cubic, the vendor that provides TAP equipment (The taptogo.net website is overseen by another vendor, Xerox, and there are talks scheduled about updating that). Many of these changes involve issues with TAP raised by both Source readers and the media.
Among the improvements proposed in the Metro staff report:
• Simplify TVM screens to make them more user-friendly.
• Update and clarify the existing “Help” options and directions.
• Incorporate up to six languages in addition to the existing English and Spanish options currently provided.
• Enable the purchase of multiple rides on a single TAP card and/or the purchase of multiple TAP cards in a single cash/credit card transaction for families and groups. (Note to readers: TAP cards can hold up to eight single rides. The issue here is that the machines currently require customers to buy a single ride and then start over with a new transaction in order to buy a second single ride — i.e. the equivalent of a round-trip purchase for those using one bus or train to get somewhere and back).
• Install an additional TVM [ticket vending machine] next to the Metro Customer Center in the East Portal at Union Station to help expedite customer purchases and provide service when the center is closed, as well as an additional TVM at the Culver City station.
Another proposal: relocate some of the standing TAP validators in rail stations to more convenient places to help traffic flow better through the stations.
Here’s the staff report: