Metro to hold public hearing Jan. 17 over proposed changes to TAP

Metro is holding a public hearing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17, in the  Board Room on the 3rd floor at Metro headquarters over three changes involving TAP cards that are designed to improve service and make bus transfers between Metro and other agencies easier and quicker.

The public is encouraged to attend the hearing and comment on the changes. 

The proposed changes are:

•Replace the sale of the Day Pass on Metro buses with the sale of Stored Value.

The sale of Stored Value will allow all riders to quickly add or load cash onto their TAP cards to cover the cost of transfers. Day Pass sales have declined over 70 percent since 2011.

Metro Day Passes will still be available for sale at taptogo.net, TAP vending machines, by calling 1.866.TAPTOGO, at over 400 TAP vendor locations and at Metro Customer Centers. Again, to emphasize: day passes are not being eliminated.

•The transition of Metro tokens to TAP.

Riders will instead use Stored Value on TAP cards to pay for transfers between different TAP agencies in Los Angeles County that are done within 2.5 hours of the first boarding.

Customers will benefit from faster boarding times and by not having to carry exact change, according to Metro. Instead of tokens, Metro will use TAP cards.

Tokens are no longer sold at a discounted rate and their use has declined over 24 percent since 2011, according to Metro. If the change is made, the sale of tokens would be phased out but tokens would still be accepted for a year. Additionally, social service agencies will be offered limited use TAP cards to distribute to their clients.

•Charge $2 for all new TAP cards to make the price consistent.

At present, TAP cards cost $1 at TAP vending machines and on Metro buses, but cost $2 when purchased online, by phone or in person at Metro Customer Centers or vendors. The price was lowered years ago for a pilot program to boost sales.

The agency would like the price to be consistent so all customers are charged the same price. Metro believes the $2 price will encourage people to retain cards, which now have a 10-year lifespan. 

Note: Reduced Fare Senior, Disabled, Student and College TAP cards are currently free and will remain so.

If you cannot attend the hearing you may submit written testimony postmarked through midnight, January 17, 2018, the close of the public record. Written testimony may be sent to Metro in the following ways: 

By E-Mail

Send your comments to customerrelations@metro.net

Subject: Transfer on 2nd Boarding Readiness

By Mail

Metro Customer Relations

Attn: Transfer on 2nd Boarding Readiness

One Gateway Plaza, 99-PL-4

Los Angeles, CA 90012

By Fax

Send to: 213.922.6988

Subject:  Transfer on 2nd Boarding Readiness

Attention: Metro Customer Relations

ADA and Title VI Requirements: Special accommodations are available to the public for Metro-sponsored meetings. All requests for reasonable accommodations and translation must be made at least three working days (72 hours) in advance of the scheduled meeting date; please call 323.GO.METRO or California Relay Service at 711.

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16 replies

  1. TAP cards are out of date relics. Other agencies are getting rid of cards. It is silly that a out-of-town visitor or someone just needing to use for the day needs to spend $2 for a card. Get rid of the TAP cards.

    • I have visited a lot of places in the past year and they still use a card as a method of payment. You may day that it is silly for an out-of-town visitor to purchase one, but whenever I use public transportation in other cities, they still somehow use cards. I see no justification for Metro to “get rid of the TAP cards” when they are doing just fine.

  2. I don’t know about 2011, but it makes sense that Day Pass sales would decline following the introduction of the 2-hour free transfer window in 2014. Before that, if a rider had to use two lines each way, on the fourth tap it would automatically become a Day Pass purchase. Now, with the free transfer, each trip only costs one fare, but the pass still costs four.

    Are they finally going to consider doing interagency transfers with TAP?

  3. I’m confused, you say that disabled TAP cards are free, but you charged me $2 both times for my cards (initial card and renewal card)

    • Exactly. They say Senior/Disabled and K-12/College/Vocational cards are free, but for themost part it doesn’t seem to be the case

    • Hi Michael;

      Metro stopped charging for Reduced Fare cards in 2016. If you were charged after this time frame, please contact the Reduced Fares office at 866.827.8646.

      All reduced fare TAP cards are free. Seniors, customers with disabilities, K-12 and College/Vocational students receive TAP cards for free when enrolling in the Reduced Fare TAP card program. Reduced fare customers may apply online or download the application here: https://www.taptogo.net/Reduced_Fare . Customers can also get applications at one of the Metro Customer Centers.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi;

      Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
      One Gateway Plaza
      Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952

      It is in the Metro headquarters that are next to Union Station — the tall tan building that can be accessed from the Patsaouras Transit Plaza (east portal). Union Station is served by the Red/Purple Line subway, the Gold Line and numerous Metro bus lines, as well as the DASH bus.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Just got back from London and boy what a system do they have. Its pretty complex, but what simplifies riding buses, trains and commuter trains there is that my Oyster Card was able to help me ride everything.

    The only reason I got the Oyster Card was because I was lazy and didn’t call my banks to make them aware I would be overseas; whatever. That being said, I was able to use apple pay to make my first initial rides before security settings from my credit cards forced me to buy an Oyster Card; no big deal.

    What I could appreciate is that I did not need this card to ride. I could simply tap my phone. Also, the Oyster Card was so dynamic while I was there, that I really wished TAP would model itself after this system. The enter/exit division of turn styles to help traffic also gave me heart eyes while I was there. Los Angeles has a lot to learn. I think we would do better just adopting a style from another city, than this incremental progress that is leaving us in the dust and is hardly innovative.

    Coincidentally, I noticed the turn styles have lazer readers now. What is this for?

  5. I wrote to Metro Customer Service and complained that’s there’s no way to put into the machine $1 or less to add to the remaining Stored Value. If you’re left with an odd amount in your Tap Card, you must put in another $5.00 when you should be able to make up the difference. Many times, I just have 50 cents, 75 cents, or 1 dollar remaining. Why can’t I just put into another dollar and change? There’s no mention about putting in less than a dollar for transfers either.

    When you buy an one way fare of $1.75, it’s treated as a single pass, not Stored Value. Thus, you can’t add to your Store Value amount by buying the one way fare. This is also true of Transfers where the amount you put in is treated like a Transfer ticket and can’t be considered Stored Value. You’re stuck with whatever you purchased and can’t be flexible with the value paid.

    • I’ve been wondering the same thing here. In Chicago, DC, and NYC I believe you aren’t limited to set small amounts when adding stored value. What’s particularly odd is that for a $3.50 round trip there are no options that are multiples of it (for example, I can’t put $7 if I know I’ll be traveling on back-to-back days.

  6. The use of the Day Pass is declining because of yet more limitations of TAP, which should:

    – Receive all monetary credit as Stored Value
    – Deduct as a Regular Fare at first entry to bus or rail
    – Convert to Day Pass rate when accumulated Regular Fares exceed Day Pass rate (essentially a cap)
    – Alternatively, let the customer convert Stored Value to a Day Pass for a *named date* online or at a fare machine

    This isn’t rocket science IMO.

  7. “Replace the sale of the Day Pass on Metro buses with the sale of Stored Value.”

    Yeah, how about you keep both?? Kinda pointless to remove it from buses if the option is available elsewhere.

    How about finally getting TAP out of Beta??

    How about not getting Charged twice every time I exit the 7th/Metro station after discharging from the Red Line, picking up my cup of Joe from Starbucks, then transferring to the Expo Line or Vice Versa??

    Can anyone explain why I’m being charged twice if I leave the 7th/Metro station to run a quick errand and then return to TRANSFER to a different line and still get charged again?? Literally not the case at every other Transfer point, including the red and purple line.

    NFC payments are coming when??

    How about we stop with the “politics” and just allow TAP to work on Metrolink??

  8. I used Day Passes regularly on visits to LA until the price went up and the free two-hour transfers came in. But, for the visitor, the transfers don’t cover everything. We often want to break our journey and then continue on the same line in the same direction, thus getting charged again (as per the conditions). Please consider bringing down the price of the Day Pass to $5, when it would be worth buying, as it would be (just) cheaper than three trips. Then sales might go up again. Or, better, consider making the two-hour free transfer simply two-hours of free travel as it is in many cities (San Francisco and Minneapolis/St Paul, for example. Then teh pass would almost be redudant. As a last resort, cap the spending of stored-value once it reaches $7 until whatever time the next day officially starts (3am?) and the stored-value is drawn on once again. Then, at least, the traveller who had calculated it probably wasn’t worth paying the price of a Day Pass and then made a number of ‘same-direction-line transfers’ wouldn’t have to pay more than $7 for the privilege.

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