The latest on getting Metrolink into the TAP system

20121115 e Mac Item 64

Many of you have been following this issue. A short recap: in order to lock the gates at Metro Rail stations — expected to happen in mid-2013 — Metro needs Metrolink customers to have some type of TAP fare media to get through the gates.

The above report spells out the two options. The preferred one is that Metrolink adopt a paper-based TAP card to provide its customers. The not preferred one is that Metrolink customers no longer would be able to enjoy free transfers to Metro.

As would be expected, the Metro Board's Executive Management Committee expressed some serious concerns about the second option, with Board Member Don Knabe saying basically it's not an option — he wants interconnectivity maintained between Metrolink and Metro.

The Metrolink Board is taking up the item at its meeting tomorrow. Metro's Executive Management Committee moved the item to the full Board of Directors without a recommendation; it will be taken up at the Board's meeting next month.


18 replies

  1. James:
    There are 2 Amtrak trains that honor Metrolink one-way tickets. However, Metrolink monthly passes are honored on Amtrak. The issue then would be, since Amtrak punches tickets (which Metrolink does not) getting Amtrak on board, OR, monthly pass holders losing the ability to ride “Rail2Rail” on Amtrak for free. Though, I SUPPOSE, Metrolink could simply adopt the “TAP Sticker” system that Metro already uses for zone stickers. Monthly pass holders get a special ticket, OR, they simply purchase a new monthly pass every month, which would be a special TAP card with the month printed on it.


  2. All I know is that they need to work it out because my ticket is expensive enough where I shouldn’t worry about a ticket for the metrolink and a metro pass . I don’t metro didn’t think it all the way through


  3. Malcolm M.

    Just look up how the Clipper Card does this. It’s essentially the same technology and the same manufacturer as our TAP cards.

    BART and Caltrain is on a distance fare system. You tap in when you enter the system and tap out when you exit the system. Fare is deducted from the Clipper Card upon tap out based on distance traveled.

    Clipper Card on BART

    Clipper Card on CalTrain

    When riding a flat rate system like MUNI, you just tap on. Fare is deducted at that point.

    Clipper Card on MUNI

    If the Clipper Card can do it, so can TAP. The Bay Area got their act together because everyone was on the same page and they knew that standardization was the key.

    In stark contrast, the whole thing is just a mess down here in LA because no one wants to cooperate with each other.


  4. “Metro will receive a higher amount as all customers transferring to Metro will be required to purchase Metro fares to access our system”

    Metro could then use that money to start subsidizing the Metrolink fares of LA County residents by 66.7%, the same goal they have for their own lines. As Metrolink is a substitute for LA County residents who are neglected by the Metro agency they help fund, I would think that offering similar financial assistance for Metrolink is only fair.

    Metro hasn’t learned that in order to get 2/3rds support for tax increases, you can’t alienate over 1/3rd of the population.


  5. AD, I agree that Metro should start subsidizing Metrolink fares for LA County residents.

    The last time I took Metrolink, it cost me $8 ONE WAY from Covina to Downtown LA at off-peak time… and I had to wait about an hour for the train, too.

    If Metro subsidized that $8 fare by 66.7%, it would be about the reasonable price for the service.


  6. Instead of subsidizing, every agency should just get together and standardize to distance based fares and come up with a fair value of what it costs to travel a mile on mass transit. That’s how successful mass transit systems works all over the world!

    Things go much simpler that way so that a mile traveled on Metro is the same as a mile traveled on the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and a mile traveled on Metrolink. Then you add an express charge for Metrolink.

    $0.10 a mile on Metro Bus
    $0.10 a mile on Metro Rail
    $0.10 a mile on Culver City Bus
    $0.10 a mile on Santa Monica Big Blue Bus
    $0.10 a mile on Metrolink +0.XX a mile as Metrolink service surcharge

    This way everybody will be on the same page and every one pays the fairest fare depending on how far you travel. If you want to get there fast, pay the service surcharge on top of the base distance fare.

    There is no reason why this can’t be done with TAP.


  7. Alex,

    Have you considered just getting a motorcycle instead?

    In that same hour you wasted in waiting for Metrolink and paying $8 oneway for 22 miles, you could just rode a motorcycle and gotten there for less gas cost.

    22 miles is about a half a gallon of gas on most 40+ MPG motorcycles. At today’s gas prices that one way trip would’ve only cost you $2.20 of gas.