TAP validator test at entrance to Gold Line at Union Station

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Those entering or exiting the Gold Line at Union Station recently may notice something different: there are TAP validators now arranged across the bottom of the stairs. The validators, up until now, have been against both walls and next to the ticket machines.

What’s going on? Metro’s TAP team is trying a different arrangement of the validators to see what works best at the entrance to the stairs leading to the train platform. As you know, it’s an area that can get quite crowded at peak hours with people headed both up and down the stairs.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a preference!

34 replies

  1. like duh, no brainer. it would help improve the flow of people moving up and down those stairs if everyone weren’t herded to the sides to have to tap.

  2. I think that it is good that Metro is trying out different configurations at Union Station, but I feel like other stations are not being properly addressed. For example, at Memorial Park station, the tap machines are nestled against a wall by a TVM. There is no signage above the validators indicating that you need to tap there. I feel like even well-intentioned riders with the intent to pay (and definitely first-time riders) would certainly miss these machines, not pay, and be confused.

    The same goes for the Chinatown station. One of the entrances is located across the street from the main station entrance (it’s just a staircase up to the platform). This entrance does not have a validator at all, only a sign that reads “Valid Fare Payment Required Beyond This Point”. A validator should be present at every entrance so that customers wishing to pay can actually do so. Forcing riders to cross the street and use an alternative entrance does not seem very fair, in my opinion, especially if a perfectly good entrance is available elsewhere.

    Some of the Expo Line stations have the same problem as the Chinatown station, but it’s far less of an inconvenient because you don’t need to cross a street to get to an entrance that has an actual validator.

    In short, Union Station and 7th St/Metro Center are, indeed, some busy transfer points (and even Willowbrook). But hopefully the developments made at these stations are properly spread systemwide.

  3. You need turnstiles. I don’t want to go looking around for it. The one at Expo Lines is at the bottom of the stairs but if you don’t see it and you go upstairs looking I am not going back down to TAP in. Why is this so complicated when most cities have been doing it forever?

  4. When are the Union Station TAP cards going to be sold system wide? In the last two weeks, I saw people get the old blue TAP cards at the Atlantic & Lincoln Heights Station on the Gold Line.

    • Hi David,

      At this time, the TVMs at those stations are not stocked with the Union Station TAP cards yet. We’re waiting for the next shipment of cards to come in. We hope to have them at more stations along the Gold Line soon, but in the meantime you can get them at the Customer Centers or any other TVM that has the special sticker indicating which card it carries.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  5. “They train should be free :)”

    Yeah I’d like my food, water, place of living, clothing, insurance, electricity, gas, phone service, and internet to be free too and let everyone else pay for it. Oh gee what do you know, now everyone is paying for everyone so everyone is poor.

  6. The virtual gate configuration similar to the transfer point at Metro Center is the best option. Metro needs to implement these at all stations first and see how it works before gating more stations. Especially on the Orange Line, where Metro is proposing fare gates on a bus line, to jump straight to that and spend millions of dollars when virtual gates could work just as well.

  7. Would love to see a TAP validator ON the elevator so when I’m in a hurry with my bike, I can get in the elevator and fumble with my TAP card as I’m going up.

  8. “The train should be free :)”
    Only if you think the train is worthless.

    “What about the elevator located between the ticket machines?”
    Yes. People that need to use the elevator should not be
    made to tap in a manner that is harder. Wheelchairs, bicycles, stollers, seniors, etc.

    “When are the Union Station TAP cards going to be sold system wide?”
    Only place I have seen them besides Union Station is Norwalk Green Line Station and bus Transit Center.

    • Hi Rick;

      Nothing different. The validators have been moved — that’s all.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  9. Why not just install turnstiles or ticket gates and have station staff to make sure that everyone pays their $1.50 Metro fare?? Every other modern city around the world i.e. San Francisco BART, Portland, Seattle, Chicago Metro Trains, NYC MTA subways, Boston T, London Underground, and Tokyo Metro, JR all have ticket gates!!

  10. I like the new layout for the TAP ticket machines There should also be Metro MTA station staff at Union Station and busy Metro stations such as 7th Street, Hollywood/ Highland and at Culver City Station to help customers in need of assistance and to make sure that customers have paid their $1.50 Metro fare!!

  11. Metro needs to put tap validators on the platform just for people to tap their cards while they are waiting for the train. Blue Line Stations have theirs on the platforms and they are working really well.
    Since you already know there is stair way, why not convert it into a ramp just like ones that lead to the Amatrak and Metrolink platforms.

  12. I haven’t used these yet, but they seem like a wonderful opportunity for people to continue using the train without paying fare (if the TAP validators are independently placed with no gate). As someone who sees tons of people brush through handicap TAP validators without actually validating DAILY, I would think more creativity should go into gated entry rather than open, free-for-all entry. (Please ignore if I’m interpreting this new approach incorrectly.)

  13. Double bank the tap machines, with a few feet between them. This would allow more people to tap at the same time.
    The validators at the South Pasadena station need to be moved to be next to the stairs.

  14. “Every other modern city around the world i.e. San Francisco BART, Portland, Seattle, Chicago Metro Trains, NYC MTA subways, Boston T, London Underground, and Tokyo Metro, JR all have ticket gates!!”

    Because you have people who say but, but, but San Diego, Oslo, Berlin, Vienna, and San Jose doesn’t and they run perfectly fine without them, so ha! (sarcasm) And we all know how well running things under the honor system for 20 years lead to. Billions of dollars in uncollected fares while Metro executives and unions gave themselves more raises with taxpayers footing the bill.

    This city doesn’t have a clear vision for mass transit. It wants to become a transit oriented city, but the city doesn’t plan or study in-depth what other transit oriented cities do. It has no business model, it’s just build it and let taxpayers pay for it and if that doesn’t work, jack up the fares, all the while we treat ourselves to giving ourselves six figure salaries, doing photo shoots with shovel and sand and funding freeway projects.

  15. This is so stupid because there’s no gates. How it’s placed will do absolutely nothing because people will just blow right through them without paying.

    Why don’t people working for Metro visit cities that get transit right?

  16. 1. Turn up the brightness and volume on the tap validators so we don’t have to pause and try to read the display to see if we properly validated our tap cards.
    2. Fix the broken arrival displays and spend more time displaying arrivals instead of PSA’s.
    3. Designate the Union Station Goldline Platform area between the railing around the stairwell and the edge of the platform a “NO STANDING ZONE”. Too often you have walk close to the edge to go around standing people.
    4. Add more seating to help alleviate the sitting crowds on the stairwells.
    5. Add outlets (so people can charge their cell phones) to the far ends of the platform to help make more room on platform. it would also decriminalize charging a cell phone.
    6. Enforce the No drink rule. I have been a victim of coffee spills and seen too many other accidents or disregard with trash
    7. it is time to move a lot the TAP validators that were installed when people mainly used paper tickets. Many are hidden like at the South Pasadena Station northbound on the south end. If you are anywhere near the stairs you have gone too far and can’t even see the validator behind the ticket machine.

  17. We also need TAP readers at the PICO station to help when transferring between the Blue and Expo lines instead of running to the end of the platform just to TAP and transfer. Maybe – something like this may be required at the Rosa Parks station, I don’t know about this though.

  18. Anna Chen,

    Thanks for your response.

    Why doesn’t Metro respond to questions on their Facebook page? It seems as though you work for Metro. I asked about the Union Station TAP cards at least twice and got no response from Metro! I shouldn’t have to ask again on here! If Metro is going to use social media, they need to be “social!”

  19. Saturday Morning at Union Station and the test TAP machines seem to be gone and the old ones still there.

    Also saw Union Station TAP cards at some of the Orange Line TVMs on way to Chatsworth.
    Does switching at Pico on Blue/Expo in the same direction require tapping? I was told [can’t remember if it was a Sheriff or a Metro employee] ]that switching between Purple/Red trains is not required at Wilshire/Vermont—–including different directions. I know this will be moot if transfers come to be, but wonder what current Metro official practice is. I know it was hard to find validators when switching between Red and Blue Lines.

    • Hi there;

      I’m checking the answer on your tap question. Not sure why anyone would hop off train at Pico and then complete trip (presumably northbound) on another train unless running quick errand in the area, right?

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  20. Steve,

    What about Expo Line westbound/Blue Line southbound?

    1. Get on at 7th/Metro, hop on Expo Line westbound (though actually going south up until USC)
    2. Get off at Pico
    3. Transfer to Blue Line southbound

    Is that considered a transfer or not?

    • Hi Expo Fan;

      I’m told that under the current rules that is considered a transfer and you need to pay before getting on the second train. Under the new fares, it will be a transfer but I need to clarify that before the new fares kick in.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source