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.

9 replies

  1. Shabaz,

    I agree. I’d even go further that California as a whole should use the same technology for all transit in Calfornia, or at least look into making other contactless cards compatible with each other.

    Transit is about moving people more seamlessly. It should be applied statewide.

    I mean look at it this way. California invented the VISA (located in San Francisco) and the Mastercard (used to be called the Bank of America Mastercharge when they were based in CA), right?

    And everyone who has a bank account has them in the form of a VISA or Mastercard debit card. It made life much more easier because we don’t have to deal with cash that much more anywhere. And it’s accepted all over California and the world that it’s actually hard to find a place that doesn’t take them.

    That’s what TAP and contactless cards need to do. It has to be capable of handling everything that VISA and Mastercard does.

    You’d think with all those Silicon Valley based giants like Google and contactless card makers like Cubic in San Diego, along with VISA in San Francisco, we’d be the first one in the world to have this by now.

    Yet we’re so lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to using contactless card technology to get people moving and buying goods and services. What gives?

    • Hi Local Commuter;

      I like your idea for a transit fare card that works throughout the state — especially given the number of tourists that visit the state and the fact that there are urban rail networks in the L.A. region, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco Bay region and Sacramento. Of course, just getting all the transit agencies in each region on a regional fare card has proved difficult. But it’s a good idea and I hope someday someone embraces it.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Metrolink already allows FREE rides to Access riders plus a free ride for their care provider:

    “L.A. County offers authorized Access Services ID card holders the ability to ride free any Metrolink train on all lines except for the Inland Empire Orange County Line (IEOC). The IEOC line does not cross into L.A. County, therefore the IEOC line is excluded from the program….

    One Personal Care Attendant (PCA) for a passenger with disabilities may ride free when accompanying the person with a disability.”


  3. I hope the ultimate plan will be to use TAP across ALL public transit agencies in the region??? You could argue that interim solutions like this are costly if you have to one day (hopefully soon) integrate a ONE card access to all transit across SoCal. I imagine that was the goal of TAP to begin with — otherwise, why did we make such a huge investment with this new technology?

  4. I wonder when will Metrolink do Metro a favor by accepting Metro’s EZ Passes and provide FREE rides to Access Paratransit Riders. ( If Metrolink gives free rides and honor EZ passes, they also need to do it in all the counties in which they serve similar to Lines 460 and 161. Metrolink needs to do these services because it is funded by Metro. Both Metro and Foothill Transit (Silver Streak, 285 & 286) are feeder lines of Metrolink. If Metrolink wants the transit community to treat them equally. It must play the SAME RULES just like Metro and its funding agencies. Metrolink’s needs to take more responsibilities equal to all the other transit operators in order to receive Metro’s funding.

    • Hi David;

      I don’t believe so; they’re just paper tickets that are TAP enabled.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source