The Metro Board just approved the motion below by Board Members Eric Garcetti and Jacquelyne Dupont Walker that asks Metro to report on a number of initiatives involving technology, smartphones and wireless access across the Metro bus and rail system.
This is hardly a shocker. When I covered the L.A. City Council many moons ago, Garcetti was by leaps and bounds ahead of his colleagues when it came to using social media and the internet to better connect constituents to City Hall.
[…] customer service isn’t always about coming up with plans to utilize the best technology, sometimes it’s as simple as putting up a […]
If the directive from the Metro Board is to latch up all the stations and for LA to become a fully gated system, Metro might as well come up with a long term plan on what things can become possible as we move forward.
Two of my suggestions are:
1. Using NFC enabled smartphones with a TAP app will save the city millions instead of buying TAP cards from Cubic. It will also help everyone the cost of needing a TAP replacement every three years.
Mobile Suica in Japan
T-Money app in Korea
2. Using open payments via contactless credit and debit cards so that people can pay their fares straight from their credit cards or debit cards without even bothering to buy an extra TAP card or heading over to the TVMs.
Open payment in the UK
Open payment in Chicago (Use your own contactless bankcard section)
Metro should embrace technologies and start using them proactively. Everybody else has been moving at a faster pace at implementing new technologies that if we don’t do them, we’re just going to be left behind the rest of the pack. A lot of things are now possible now that we have a gated system, we should start utilizing everything that can now be done under a fully gated system.
Not only will TAP out help in adding an extra layer of check for those who try to sneak in from stations that will have no gates, TAP out will also provide Metro with a clear picture on how people are using the system because they’ll know how many people are getting on at which station and how many are getting off at a particular station. It should help Metro plan things better like when to run express services and when transfers should come at key stations.
We Should not have to tap out unless you change the prices to the distances traveled, like from start to end is the full rate and shorter trips are less.
TAP-out doesn’t need to lock the person into the system and get them arrested. It’s fine if TAP-out just automatically charges someone without a TAP-in – either $1.50 if the fare stays flat, or the maximum fare possible for an exit at that station if they eventually switch to variable fare.
Sorry, above should meant to read
TAP-in required or else it won’t let you into the system
TAP-out required or else it won’t let you out of the system
And TAP-out alone won’t let you out of the system either as it’ll check to see the gates will check the card that there is TAP-in data before to prove that the cardholder didn’t ride the system for free from an ungated station and is trying to get out a gated one with just a TAP-out.
It’s great to see that we’re finally moving ahead in installing gates across the system and having a fully latched system. Thanks to the Metro Board “finally getting in,” it opens up a lot of opportunities to make transit more efficiently.
My additional suggestion is to use the gates to act as both the primary barrier against fare evasion (pre-fare evasion) and secondary barrier (post-fare evasion).
In consideration that not all stations are going to have gates, might as well make the stations that have gates act as a secondary barrier via TAP-out verification. Gates will not latch to make the transit rider exit the system without a TAP-out. And TAP-out alone will not latch the gates for exit as it’ll check for a valid TAP-in data stored in the TAP card.
TAP-in won’t let you into the system
TAP-out won’t let you out of the system
TAP-out alone won’t let you out of the system either as it’ll check to see if there is TAP-in data within the card to prove that you didn’t ride the system for free from an ungated station and trying to get out a gated one.
That way, if someone freeloads by coming from an ungated station on the Blue Line and wants to get off at 7th/Metro, he will be locked inside of the system instead of letting him go scot-free.
He may not need TAP in to ride the Blue Line from an ungated station to 7th/Metro, but in order to be let out of the system, he needs TAP out at 7th/Metro. But if he tries to TAP out at 7th/Metro without any TAP-in data stored in the TAP card, it still won’t latch open for him to exit the system.
If he tries to jump the gate there, that’s where the officers bust him red handed for fare evasion. This way, officers can be strategically placed near the exit gates looking out for these behaviors. And when caught, absolutely no excuse will fly. The cheater got on without paying (because TAP out won’t unlatch the gate without a TAP in data stored on the TAP card), he rode the system without paying (guilty as charged), and when the person is dismayed that the gates aren’t free spinning for exit, he jumps the gate and he gets caught red handed by the officers strategically stationed at the exit gates.