Focus group says that these redesigned screens on Metro ticket machines are a big step in right direction; what do you think?

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What do you think? Are we on the right track with these new screen designs?

A focus group on Tuesday — the third focus group so far — indicated that ticket vending machine redesigns by Metro’s Creative Services Staff are headed in the right direction.

All of the participants were impressed with the new designs and provided helpful feedback to further refine the screens. They assured Metro that the new screens were a vast improvement over the existing screens and were “very clear and self-explanatory.”  Another participant noted, “I don’t have to concentrate and look for the options. They are very clearly organized.”

One new addition is a more prominent selection screen with 10 different languages, which will make purchases easier for limited-English customers and tourists from abroad. Other improvements include more understandable terminology and less jargon, simpler screens with fewer options and more intuitive selections and more explanations of options — which hopefully will mean less pushing of the ‘help’ button for customers.

The new screens will help all riders purchase and reload TAP cards more quickly and easily, a big help to both rail and bus riders. Bus riders are now using TAP cards more than ever before. Preliminary results from the most recent bus survey conducted by Metro Research show that about seven in 10 bus riders are now using TAP cards to pay for their fares. This is up from about five in 10 in the previous quarter.

What do you think? If you’re leaving a comment, please be as specific as possible about what you like or don’t like or any suggestions that you may have.

43 replies

  1. I agree with “Realist” the system and displays should be SIMPLE and EASY TO USE, Have different fare options i.e. display amount to be added to your TAP card $1.50, $3.00, etc and have Metro Passes($5 day pass, weekly pass, and Monthly pass) available to use, Also the machines should also have an option of allowing the customer to enter the value they wish to store on their TAP Card, these simple fixes would help and i think the new languages feature will help tourists buy their Metro ticket. The new display just looks rather strange…


  2. Why doesn’t Metro use the distance and zone fare system based upon how far you travel?? The same trip and distance in San Francisco on BART from SFO to downtown SF would cost me $8.25 but only $1.50 on LA METRO… I Love LA!!!


  3. I think “Multiple Rides” should be switched with “Stored Value”
    other than that the interface is much better.

    And I also ask, what is a group pass?

    To Eric B: passes are first, then stored value. I couldn’t agree more with training drivers on how to use the fare box to its full potential.

    If you could talk to LADOT, please tell them what “Passback” means. It’s becomes tedious sometimes, especially when you have $4.25 and a 25 mile ride on the line.


  4. Looks better, especially saying how many rides you get for a given $ amount. I also like the progress bar along the top. I have three suggestions:
    1. Simplify the second screen. Instead of metro pass, multiple rides and single ride options, just say “There are two ways to pay for Metro” with buttons for “Pay Per Day” (1,3 5 day pass etc) and “Pay Per Ride” (for stored value) And maybe add a tip to help people choose, like “If you use Metro more than 3 times in a day, its cheaper to Pay Per Day.”

    2. Make it clear and easy to buy multiple cards. After picking the value your your card, before the payment screen, there should be a prompt: “Each person needs their own tap card. How many cards do you need?” or something like that, with the option to buy multiple cards of the same value. This would be ideal for families or other groups of people traveling together, who want to buy multiple cards, probably for the same amount if they’re traveling together, without having to go through the whole process multiple times.

    3. For the benefit of first time users, especially visitors from out of town, make it clear that what they’re buying is good on the subway, light-rail and Metro bus. In some other cities this isn’t the case, so people may not realize that the card they’re buying in a subway station is also valid on the bus. On the second screen, how about “Welcome. Please select an option to pay for Metro bus and trains.”


  5. These might be good ideas, I’m not sure. But I think it would be better if you put the purchasing TAP card page after choosing the fare and call it “Do you have a TAP card?” Some people may be confused about being forced to buy a TAP card before they even chose a fare. (Switch screens 3 and 4)


  6. Who was in your “focus group”?!
    Seems you had persons who have experience riding Metro and using the TAP machines. You have conducted a survey that really wan’t scientific or conducive to the project. This is a public transportation network that serves foreign visitors; survey foreign visitors at varied niches (major tour operators with clientele from Asia and Europe, foreign community service groups, etc.). Of course use translators to give you a real perspective of how the ‘new’ design isn’t an improvement. There are too many options to keep it confusing. Agree with previous posts that much needs to be improved and phrases restructured. There should be more iconic graphics to assist with the VISUAL processes which international visitors are accustomed to navigate through all the confusing toll options.
    Better yet to have only two options; Day Pass or per trip charge. Get rd of “D” button for TAP status; should be the first process to do (depicted with video graphic at the welcome screen).


  7. I think it is a step in the right direction.

    But if it were up to me (Star Wipe):

    I’d have a gold TAP card with nice wings for all of my rides. Heck; I’d never pay a fair with this card. I would be personally greeted by name in my own language that I made up before I pretend to load my TAP card (I pretend to load so no one else feels bad about me having a gold TAP card). Metro should also consider adding espresso machines to the TVMs. This would save a lot of time for many riders. If it even had fresh croissants, that would add brownie points (no pun intended); but that might be asking too much. Maybe.

    When MTA runs its focus groups, it should use babies from other countries. This would probably amount to a lot less bickering about a machine which probably takes fifteen to twenty seconds to learn the first time it is used. Using babies from other countries would also get MTA prepared in the art of diaper changing when the machines are put into public use, and before operating them, people that ride begin to complain as if they have no common sense.

    Other than that, being a fully functioning and rational adult, I appreciate the effort Metro has made to make these machines easier to use.


  8. I reloaded my TAP card today at the Del Mar Station but still couldn’t find the $1.80 all-day senior fare. This is two times in a row. So what should have cost $3.60 cost me $10.00. I hope it will be clear as to how to load the senior fare on the new screens. Incidentally, where is the $1.80 all-day senior fare on the present screens?


    • Hi Peggy;

      I’m not near a ticket machine at the moment — let me check tomorrow. There is an online description how to load a single ride on senior TAP, but I’m not finding anything that explicitly shows how to load the senior day pass. I’ll try to respond tomorrow morning.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source


  9. Bob, BART is commuter rail, so the correct comparison would be BART and Metrolink. Metrolink does charge by distance. The proper comparison to Metro (LACMTA) would be SF Muni.