New Metro video: TAP the target, sings Steps of Doe

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And here is the second of the trio of new videos from Metro’s marketing team, this one featuring the L.A.-based folk duo Steps of Doe with instructions for reloading your TAP card at ticket machines.

The new videos are intended as a fun way to help folks learn to ride the Metro system and remind everyone that taking transit can be fun and/or interesting. Please feel free to share/comment/review on social media using the hashtag #metrorocks. Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The first video, which debuted last week, featured Galactic Flo promoting Metro’s and Google’s trip planner.

One other note: the musicians who appear in the videos (and the firm that made them, Conceptive, Inc.) are entirely local. If you’re a musician and would like to share your song about local transit, you can email us here.

The Metro Trip Planner is on the metro.net homepage. If you prefer, Google Maps can also be used to plan transit trips.

New TAP-TO-GO allows loading of regular monthly passes by text message

TAP-TO-GO Card

This is something that riders may find convenient: it’s now possible to load a 30-day regular monthly Metro pass on a TAP card via text message. If buying a pass by text message, passes load immediately on cards without the one- to two-day delay when passes are bought on taptogo.net.

TAP-TO-GO is a six-month trial program that is beginning this week and will run through Dec. 1. There are two important caveats: at this time, only regular monthly passes are available and you need to use a new, special TAP card from the program to participate. There is no additional cost for the card.

The program is being run by Metro and its contractor mobileAxept. Reminder: Monthly passes are still available at TAP Vending Machines at all Metro Rail and Metro Orange Line stations, Metro Customer Centers and El Monte Station.

How to sign up 

1) Text TAPSIGNUP to 28950  or visit taptogo.net to sign up online.

2) If texting, mobileAxept will reply with a link to sign up.

3) Enter your name, mailing address and email address. Participants will be directed to the BlueFin-hosted secure payment site to submit credit/debit card information. Credit/debit cards will not be charged until you receive your card in the mail and load your first pass.

4) Once your information has been validated, mobileAxept will send a text confirming participant has successfully joined the TAP-TO-GO pilot program. 

5) Participants receive a special TAP card in the mail within seven to 10 business days, with instructions on how load your first Metro 30-DayPass. Again, you need to use this new card — it’s not possible to sign up using an existing TAP card.

How to reload

•Text TAP30DAY to 28950 to reload your Metro 30-Day Pass. You will receive a reply text message confirming your payment has been received and your card is loaded.

When it’s time to reload your Metro 30-Day Pass, you will receive a reminder text to reload three days prior to expiration, and if necessary, one day prior to its expiration.

•Avoid paying single ride fares — currently $1.50 rising to $1.75 as early as September — by purchasing your pass before your Metro 30-Day Pass expires.

An FAQ on the TAP-TO-GO program is after the jump.

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Update, 3:42 p.m.: trip planner at metro.net restored and ticket machines accepting credit cards again

UPDATE, 3:42 P.M.: Earlier problems detailed below appear to have been resolved. Thank you for your patience and sorry for any inconvenience!

Due to an internet issue at Metro headquarters, credit cards are not currently working at ticket machines at Metro Rail stations and other locations where the ticket machines are located. Please use cash until credit card access is restored!

Also the trip planner at metro.net is not currently working. Please use Google Transit for your planning needs.

Metro is working to fix both issues. Thank you for your patience!

 

Gate latching tests to continue at some Metro Rail stations

As many Source readers are keenly aware, Metro is preparing to latch the gates at Red and Purple Line stations this summer.
In the meantime, you may encounter testing of latched gates at some station or station entrances over the next few weeks. These tests have already been underway and have gone well. There’s nothing extra you need to do — just ‘tap’ your TAP card to pass through the turnstiles — just as you’re already doing! Metro staff will be on hand to help Metrolink ticket holders and others without TAP cards pass through the turnstiles.
As for Metrolink riders, there will be new TAP-enabled Metrolink tickets available before the gates in the subway are latched. In plain English, don’t worry Metrolink riders. You’re not going to be latched out!

Metrolink-to-Metro TAP test goes well

I happened upon the testing during the afternoon rush hour on Wednesday and everything appeared to go smoothly. With Metro preparing to latch gates at Red and Purple Line stations this summer, Metro and Metrolink are testing paper TAP-enabled tickets that will allow Metrolink passengers to get through the gates.

From Metro’s TAP staff:

On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, Metro and Metrolink collaborated on a successful test-latching of Metro’s fare gates in Union Station.

At approximately 9:00 a.m., two of the largest groups of Metrolink riders successfully transferred to Metro through latched gate arrays at the Alameda entrance to the station. For the first time ever, Metrolink customers were tapped through the gates by Metrolink staff using Metrolink TAP tickets. The successful testing continued through 5:30 p.m.

In addition, the new gate help phone installed near the gate array was tested. The gate help phones are designed to be accessible to those who may have trouble with their TAP cards, including customers with physical disabilities. Customers do not have to dial a number or push a button for assistance. An operator automatically responds when the customer comes into close proximity to the phone and can assist him or her by remotely opening the ADA accessible gate.

Standard operating procedures went smoothly and testing is expected to continue in future weeks. Metro and Metrolink are pleased that our collaboration has been successful so far and expect gate latching of Red and Purple Line stations to begin in June.

Transportation headlines, Monday, Feb. 4

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Metro Rapid bus on Broadway passes by Grand Park and Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Metro Rapid bus on Broadway passes by Grand Park and Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Fixes on tap for TAP at Metro (ZevWeb) 

A very good summary of work underway on TAP by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky who is, of course, also a member of the Metro Board of Directors that makes the final call on issues related to TAP. Among the news, some of which we’ve reported here in drips and drabs:

•In the last 11 months of 2012, more than 65,000 tickets were issued for fare evasion on the Metro system. That, of course, doesn’t mean that there were only 65K cases of fare evasion — those just represent the people caught and cited.

•Gate latching on the Red/Purple Line will begin this summer and eventually spread to the Green Line and parts of the Blue and Gold lines.

•Metro is working on revising the on-screen instructions at ticket machines for those buying and loading fares on TAP cards. Validators will also be moved to more convenient locations.

•Paper TAP cards with electronic chips embedded in them are being tested for Metrolink passengers so they will have a way to get through the latched gates.

Will a smooth Blue Line ride finally come to Long Beach? (L.A. Streetsblog)

After all these many years, the city of Long Beach still hasn’t given signal priority to the Blue Line. Why? It’s costly and it requires a tech upgrade are two of the big issues. The Long Beach City Council recently voted to ask Metro for funding and that could be a start. But let’s be honest here: signal priority is a rarity for mass transit in the region and the city of Los Angeles — as riders of the Expo Line, Eastside Gold Line and Orange Line likely know.

Villaraigosa says he’ll stay for the rest of his term (LA Observed) 

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement late Friday saying he plans to stay on the job until his second term ends on June 30. There had been a lot of buzz and rumors in the media about him being nominated to replace the retiring Ray LaHood as the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Whether he was offered the job or not is anybody’s guess — the media hasn’t verified it one way or the other.

AEG giving seed money to Pershing Square effort (Los Angeles Downtown News) 

Very short story but AEG is providing $700,000 for an effort to re-imagine the downtown park. There’s no money yet to actually revamp the park. If so, my big idea: open it up to the surrounding streets instead of walling it off. It would also help if the parking lot on the north side of the park is finally developed, as has been proposed.

Here’s the thing: there’s already significant public spaces at the first three Red/Purple Line stations: Olvera Street and the L.A. Plaza Park across from Union Station, Grand Park at the Civic Center Station and Pershing Square at Pershing Square. But Union Station doesn’t feel very connected to the L.A. Plaza Park, nor does the subway station at 5th and Hill feel very park adjacent, thanks to the steps across the street leading up to the park.

CO2 emissions down in 2010 in California, continuing a trend (U.S. Energy Information Administration) 

New data just released shows that carbon dioxide emissions in California dropped again in 2010 — both overall and in the transportation sector. CO2 is a heat trapping gas that is primarily responsible for climate change — i.e. global warming. That’s good, but the Golden State still belches more CO2 into the air as a result of transportation than any other state.

Texas, however, is the overall CO2 emitter, thanks to being an amazing energy hog (see bottom chart). I’m guessing a more temperate climate near the California coasts help keep our usage down. In the entire United States, transportation is responsible for 33.3 percent of CO2 emissions behind the leading cause, electric power generation at 39.8 percent.

It’s really a shame that it takes more than two years to collect and process the data from the states. Some type of real-time — or close to that — data might provide a greater incentive for the public to try to reduce its footprint.

As we’ve mentioned before, a great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to take transit instead of driving alone, particularly in vehicles that aren’t very fuel efficient. The top document shows California’s yearly numbers and the bottom one is a state-by-state comparison of the 2010 numbers. Click on the red type to see larger.

Other actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors: contract to buy new buses, TVMs for El Monte Station

Here are a few other items of interest tackled at today’s meeting of the full Metro Board of Directors:

•The Board approved a $302-million contract with New Flyer of America for the purchase of 550 new 40-foot buses powered by compressed natural gas. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a contract modification up to $610,000 with Cubic Transportation Systems for the purchase and installation of four ticket vending machines for the El Monte Transit Center. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a series of contract modifications totaling about $13.5 million with outside firms, including URS Corporation, for continued work on the I-710 South Corridor Project’s environmental studies. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved giving Metro the authority to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with three developers seeking to build a mixed-use project that would partially occupy Metro-owned land adjacent to the Red Line’s Vermont/Sunset Station. Staff report (pdf)