Three quick notes from the Metro Board of Director committee meetings on Thursday morning:
•The Dodger Stadium Express will be back this season, once again offering free bus service between Los Angeles Union Station and the ballpark for those holding tickets to the game. And there's a wrinkle: in cooperation with the city of Los Angeles, there is expected to be a dedicated bus lane near the stadium this year to speed up the bus trips.
•TAP-enabled paper tickets for Metrolink are expected to show up in Metrolink ticket machines this spring. Gate latching tests with the tickets have gone very well.
•Metro will be moving TAP validators at some rail stations so they're more convenient for customers and easier to find. The first change will be the validators at the busy 7th/Metro Center station used by the Red/Purple Line subway and the Blue Line and Expo Line.
That is totally cool. I have a Chase debit card with Blink technology. It would be awesome if I can just use that to ride Metro instead of routing it through TAP. There’s just too much hassle in going to Ralphs and reloading money onto it.
It would be so much easier if my debit card which already has contactless technology, could just automatically deduct the fare straight from my checking account. And if San Francisco starts using this, I won’t even have to bother getting a Clipper Card either. One card for LA and for San Francisco. Let’s do it! If the British can figure it out, we can too.
Actually, cities are very well aware of the limits of proprietary systems and instead are giving a serious looking directly at going towards open loop payments using contactless credit and debit cards.
London for example, is starting to accept contactless credit and debit cards directly onto their buses, and later this year to their subways and trains: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/26416.aspx
In a few years, when an American visits London, all they need to do is tap their Chase, Bank of America, or Citibank VISA card to the validator and it will deduct the fares automatically from your credit or debit card, bypassing the need to go to the vending machine or worrying about how much money left in your Oyster card altogether or even obtaining an Oyster card to begin with.
Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Boston and NYC are also looking towards moving this way.
In a few years, LA will likely do the same. TAP was a waste of money. Soon, all you need is your contactless bank card and it will accepted everywhere from LA Metro to BART to London Underground. No need to carry multiple cards; you bank card does the same job.
Really, really fed up with MTA,
Lack of standardization. The lack of integration of fare methods, fare models, as well as a lack of cooperation between transit agencies is the main contributor to this mess. In a way, it’s like San Francisco Dollars are needed to ride the trains and buses in the Bay Area, which is totally incompatible with Los Angeles Dollars, and even within Los Angeles, there’s a difference between MTA Dollars, Metrolink Dollars and DASH Dollars. Everybody uses their own propietary payment system, fare structures, and different fare technology, that it’s a total mess. And no one wants to tackle this either.
Compare that to a plain old VISA card that can be used to dip in at the gas pump. It works everywhere from your local neighborhood gas station, to a gas station in Wyoming, to even filling up gas abroad. There’s no need to put redirect money into a Shell gas card which is incompatible with a Chevron gas card, in turn which can’t be used at an ExxonMobile gas card. The VISA card can be used to buy groceries, pay for hotel stays, and even dinner at a restaurant. It’s the ultimate form of worldwide payments.
Why can’t transit be more like that? One card, works everywhere. VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover gets it to work and they’re not even a government organization. More proof that the private sector does things way better in getting things done than government agencies.
Big business CHARGES ME PLENTY for that “convenience” — directly and indirectly. Hardly altruism or efficiency.
Interoperability is my point, and I appreciate you echoing that. As for the Adam Smith lecture, fuggetaboudit.
From the red to the gold line at Union Station, you have to go past the elevator to tap the validators, which are located on each side of the entrance. Putting a validator right next to the elevator door would be an excellent improvement for the benefit of Americans With Disabilities. It is a good idea and only required average intelligence to see the need. So, MTA brainiacs, What are you waiting for??? Do it.
How the h-e-double etc. is one supposed to buy an MTA day pass using TAP? I have a juris doctorate and I cannot figure out that system at the vending machines. It’s so easy with a Clipper card.
Why do TAP cards look so stupid, and fail even to identify themselves as Los Angeles or California related? A picture of a palm tree or beach? Graffiti tags? Anything?
And — while I’m ranting — why do I have to carry a Clipper card, a Big Blue Blue bus senior card, a TAP card and a library card in my wallet?
I’m not talking about cross-billing or accounting nightmares. Why not one data card, with data from all three in the chip?
It seems a grade schooler could program that. Of course, grade schoolers are apparently in charge of TAP
London is able to do an “in the system” and “out the system” scheme that because they are on a zone system. It requires a tap-out to properly deduct the fare based on which zones the passenger traveled to and from.
Another way to do it is like the NYMTA where transfers are free. This also allows them to have an “in the system” and “out the system” schematic.
Metro on the other hand uses a non-sensical pay per ride system. Because they chose the pay per ride fare scheme, it needs a tap-in every time one makes a transfer from another bus or train to another bus or train. What it ends up doing is as you mentioned, a needlessly confusing system which just adds to more human traffic jams.
Why don’t they just do “in the system” and “out the system” like everyone else? This whole TAP validation everytime when making transfers just creates human gridlock.
London doesn’t require you to tap when transfering from one subway line to another. It should just be simple as tap into the system, make as many transfers as you want while you’re in the system, then tap out at destination.
Why can’t Metro just do this? It’s so much simpler that way. They make everything needlessly confusing.
They should have 3 more Dodger Stadium Express routes (like one via the Golden State Gate that follows the exact route of MTA route 96 until Riverside Drive and Stadium Way, one via the Downtown Gate that follows the exact same route as the Silver Line, and one via the Academy Gate that follows the exact same route as Metro Rapid 751 and Metro route 84/68) and extend the current Dodger Stadium Express route to the Del Mar Park and Ride in San Gabriel (via the El Monte Busway).
At the Pico Boulevard Blue/Expo Line Station, TAP validators should also be placed in the MIDDLE of the platform to facilitate transfers between lines! Example: Culver City to Long Beach
Where’s the tap machine for the Silver Line stations?
Yay a Faster way to get to Dodger Stadium and Save $10 dollars on Parking… There should be a Monorail from Union Station to Dodger Stadium and beyond!!!
You know what would alleviate pedestrian gridlock at the TAP machines at 7th/metro? Not requiring monthly pass holders to TAP their cards.
The TAP validators definitely need to be made more obvious at the Del Mar station. Every time I go there I completely miss them.
Any thought about adding more stations to Dodger Stadium (not just to/from Union Station). Maybe add Vermont/Sunset (it is so close and would be more convenient for commuters from the valley).
2 things- First, Its ridiculous that the gold line falls short of taking pas angers to Dodger stadium. Second, its about time that the TAP validatiors are moved to a better location at 7th/ Metro Center!
on game days a dedicated bus lane should be the entire distance from downtown to dodger stadium; that will certainly increase ridership. (heard about the buses being stuck in same car traffic from LA City TV.)
Very smart on the dedicated Dodger Express lanes…
Finally! There is definitely a need for more Tap validators at the transfer points. All the passengers transferring from one line to the next gather like crazy around the few validators available.
yes!!! thank you!!! some TAP machines are in the WEIRDEST places!
This is all fantastic news!