Gate locking test today at Wilshire/Normandie station

In order to prepare for the upcoming locking of gates at subway stations, the turnstiles have been locked until 8 p.m. today at the Purple Line’s Wilshire/Normandie station (photos above and below).

In addition, the ticket machines at that station have been converted to TAP only — that is, they are no longer dispensing paper tickets with one exception: Metro-to-Muni transfers. The ticket machines will remain that way and other ticket machines in the subway will be similarly converted in the weeks ahead.

Metro staff will be in the Wilshire/Normandie station throughout the day to ensure that everyone can get through the gates. Free TAP cards are being handed out to station patrons who don’t already have them.

The gates at Wilshire/Normandie may be locked intermittently in the coming weeks — and they may be locked permanently sooner if the Metro Board of Directors decides to accelerate gate locking (staff report, pdf). Once the gates are locked, the station will always be staffed to help those with Metrolink tickets, EZ passes and Muni-to-Metro transfers get through the gates.

Metro has developed a solution for EZ Pass commuters — the passes will be a paper smart card that can be electronically read by TAP validators when boarding Metro buses and trains as well as muni operators that use TAP. The new EZ passes will also have monthly stickers on them so that agencies without TAP can visually inspect the passes. These new EZ passes are expected to be available in mid-August.

About the same time, bus operators issuing Muni to Metro transfers to Red/Purple subway will sell paper TAP cards that are good for one entry to enter the gates. These paper TAP transfers are NOT valid on Metro buses; these are for exclusive, one-time use to get through gates. Alternative options are under discussion for a longer term solution to accommodate all Munis and Metro transfers in the future.

Metro continues to work with Metrolink to get that agency into the TAP program.


23 replies

  1. How come metro doesn’t use the paper ticket in the TVM instead of having them use the TAP card. This would help a lot of people that come from out of town. I like the TAP card but don’t like having to force people into using them. Hopefully the entire system will be locked soon.

  2. Glad to see 5 armed LEOs in place each earning a minimum of $60,000 per year.

    Will this be repeated and maintained at every station?

    How much fare revenue is being lost again?

  3. Hey Steve: Are there any talks about a reduced rate EZ Pass for College and K-12 students?

  4. Are there seriously five uniformed police officers in this photo? Does it really take that many taxpayer funded police officers to setup this sort of thing? Don’t we have better uses for them like gangs and crimes and whatnot? Writing DUI tickets is better than standing there doing nothing. Do SOMETHING.

  5. Jason L.

    Based upon research from the facts given by some more knowledgeable about transit systems all over the world, it seems that the whole concept of transfers and passes needs to be done away with altogether.

    It seems easy to figure out on the base level, but once you consider that people travel all over between different transit agencies, there needs to be a more rational fare system that everyone could agree upon.

    Maybe distance fares is the right answer. It seems to be the only thing that works and fair for everyone.

  6. If you buy an interagency (“Metro to Muni”) transfer on TAP, the transfer is loaded automatically on the TAP card – and it does verify that you have proper fare on the card (so you couldn’t just buy a Metro-to-Muni transfer without having a pass on the card to begin with). No paper transfer is issued. Unfortunately no one has ever done a good job of writing down the business rules. To this day the Metro web site still has incorrect information about where blank TAP cards are sold (at all vending machines, and you can buy a card for $3.50 which includes the $1.50 base fare), over a year after it was pointed out.

  7. Singapore’s EZ Link cards has a 5 year expiration date, which after public outcry, SMRT automatically extended it for another 2 years giving it a 7 year lifespan.

    Simply put the three year expiration date that Metro imposes upon TAP has no basis for it. These puppies are built to last for years. The $2 fee for TAP is nothing but yet another hidden tax to screw transit dependent Angelinos for being in a captive market.

    Ain’t government wonderful?

  8. In my opinion, one of the important steps to smoothly implement TAP is to perhaps eliminate all kinds of transfers altogether.

    Metro-to-muni transfers:
    If they are only on TAP, then some municipal carriers may not be able to accept them. If they are on paper, then TAP cannot be completely paper-free. Let’s not forget the existing loophole that someone living or working near a Metro rail station can simply buy a 35-cent transfer at a TVM and use it to take a municipal bus, instead of paying the full fare.

    For Muni-to-Metro transfers:
    It seems too costly and eco-unfriendly to create one-time-use TAP-readable transfers (according to this article) and to manage them.

  9. “Expiration dates on TAP cards don’t strike me as being a problem: with reasonably heavy usage (and/or “wallet wear”), they’ll likely disintegrate before they expire, unless they’re considerably tougher than, say, your average credit card.”

    TAP cards are made by the same company that issues Clipper Cards for SF and Oyster Cards for the London Underground, both of which have no expiration dates and are built to last ten years or more.

    The three year expiration date that TAP has is artificial.

  10. Prior to the existence of the Metro Red Line, I had already experienced excellent subway service in Tokyo and I had also tried BART, the London “Tube” and Washington’s Metro (also quite good). All of these had gates. It was part of the experience. I expected it.

    Therefore, it was quite the surprise when I found that Los Angeles Metro Rail had no gates. They say that hindsight is 20-20, but I am fully convinced that the Red Line should have had gates from the very beginning. All of this angst over the installation of gates could have been avoided.

    Tokyo’s Suica did not come into existence fully-formed, but Tokyo’s residents were already used to gates.

    As it stands, every little bump in TAP’s path has been magnified. I do agree that the gate banks should be manned and that the TAP cards expire way too quickly. Metrolink needs to get on board TAP. And paper TAP cards are a must for the “I don’t know if I’m ready for this sort of commitment” people.

    However, none of these issues are unsolvable. Please fix them, Metro, so we can go back to arguing over which rail construction projects deserve top priority.

  11. Speaking as one who has literally been within 20 feet of the ground in all fifty states (and the District of Columbia), as one who has actually been on the ground in most of them (save only a few through which I passed on trains, without detraining), and most importantly, as one who has ridden the BART and MUNI in San Francisco, the “L” in Chicago, SEPTA in Philadelphia, the “T” in Boston, the San Diego Trolley, the “RT” in Sacramento, the RTA in New Orleans, and the MTA in New York City, I would definitely say that there are some major problems to be worked out on the impending transition to locked-gate TAP-only operation.

    In particular, the Boston “T” has solved the problem of transit users whose level of usage or time in town is not high enough to justify a “Charlie Card” by having a dual system, with “Charlie Tickets” for low-usage or short-term riders (and yet according to their web site, a Charlie Card is free for the asking: you pay only for the pass or stored value initially loaded onto it). The “Clipper” system in the Bay Area covers the MUNI, BART, and CalTrain, along with some neighboring bus systems; over the past two years, with the development of wireless readers, it has even been phased in on the Cable Cars.

    One of the drawbacks of the Clipper system is that on certain systems (most notably CalTrain), one must “Tap On” before boarding, and “Tap Off” after detraining.

    Expiration dates on TAP cards don’t strike me as being a problem: with reasonably heavy usage (and/or “wallet wear”), they’ll likely disintegrate before they expire, unless they’re considerably tougher than, say, your average credit card.

    While certainly TAP is the future of fares on the LACMTA, it nonetheless needs to have some bugs ironed out. For my own part, I’m unclear (probably from being a paper ticket user, and from not having read the instructions) on whether, with a Day Pass on my (still hypothetical) TAP card, traveling round-trip from Wardlow to Hollywood/Highland via the Blue and Red Lines, I would need to TAP at 7th/Metro. Or at Flower, for a round trip from Wardlow to one of the stations serving Exposition Park. Or at Rosa Parks, for a round trip from Wardlow to, say, Mariposa. Obviously, I would have to do so for stored value (just as I’d have to buy a new ticket at the transfer point if I were paying individual cash fares), but is it necessary (and if so, why) with a pass?

  12. @irregular-rider

    This is one of the reasons why most transit agencies all over the world circumvent such laws by making said contact-less transit cards as refundable deposits instead of a purchase-able fee.

    You can’t force people to buy a TAP card (more so if it expires every three years!) if it’s going to be necessary to ride the system.

    However, you can circumvent this by making TAP cards a refundable deposit. That way you can return the TAP card and get your $2 back. It’s not a “fee” if it can be refunded. If it’s refundable, then it’s a “deposit.”

  13. Will senior citizen TAP cards also be issued at the Normandie station?

    • Hi Morris;

      I don’t know; I’ll try to find out. The gates are only locked until 8 p.m. this evening.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  14. This is exactly why every agency in LA needs to be put into a boarded up room and tell them not to come out until they standardize the fare system with a fair distance based fare across the board.

    Everyone using different systems, different transfer policies, different flat rates, passes, all makes it more confusing than it needs to be.

  15. In a report: REVISED EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MAY, 17,2012
    [sorry, CAPS in original]

    It mentions 3 areas of concern [among many more] that perhaps special mention: TDA Compliance, Title VI Compliance, & ADA Compliance. I encourage everyone who cares about gatelocking to read this report to see what the issues can be or are.

    The question I specifically ask here is: With regard to TDA Compliance, is their plan legal? They question whether it is legal in the report and seem [to me, at least] to doubt if it is. This is a brazen admission in a public document.

    Perhaps the monitor here can see what Metro has to say these issues.

    Great forum by the way!

  16. Glad to know EZ and Metrolink and municipal carriers will be gradually on board the TAP system.

    However, this post says the EZ pass will be a “paper smart card”, but Metro’s website information (under “Fares, Passes, & TAP”) says the EZ passes will be loaded directly to a TAP card starting from August 25. So, which one is correct? Or do I misunderstand what it means?

    • Hi Jason;

      I’m trying to get that clarified whether it’s an actual plastic TAP card or paper TAP card. I’ll revise post when I know for sure.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  17. agreed on the issue of TAP cards expiring. makes no sense at all: frustrate passengers who just loaded money on the cards and produces waste and bad for environment.


  18. I’ve never tried to get one, but how are Metro-to-Muni transfers handled with TAP cards? I’ve tried figuring it out on the Metro website, but the only instruction is has involves interacting with a Metro bus driver… which, obviously, doesn’t work at a rail station. Can I use my TAP to buy a Metro-to-Muni transfer at a TVM, or do I need cash? Is the transfer a standalone ticket, or is there a paper ticket that combines them? And having to deal with a TVM at all kind of defeats the advantage of TAP in the first place. 😛

    • The transfers are made of paper. They will continue to be available from ticket machines and, yes, I believe you can pay for them with your TAP card — but, as always, it never hurts to have some cash on hand in case there’s an issue.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  19. Next up, make those TAP cards last longer than three years. It makes no sense to have expiration dates on them. If at all, it should be a refundable deposit, not a fee.