Metro announces new Union Station commemorative TAP cards as part of 75th anniversary celebration

tap cards

Metro will begin distributing new, commemorative TAP cards highlighting three beautiful views of Union Station to celebrate the iconic transportation hub’s 75th birthday. The new TAP cards will be issued starting on Friday afternoon. 

The Union Station 75th Anniversary Commemorative TAP Card will be available at TAP vending machines (TVMs) located within Union Station and cost $1 with the purchase of a Metro pass or Stored Value. 

The commemorative TAP cards come with three different views: a historic shot of the Union Station waiting room from 1939 (courtesy of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation), a shot of the signature bell tower framed by palm trees and a close-up of the uniquely beautiful tile work that can be seen throughout the facility.

The commemorative TAP cards come in time for Union Station’s 75th Anniversary party that begins Saturday at 10 a.m.; click here for the schedule of events. Through the weekend, the cards will be loaded into many TVMs across the Metro Rail system. Within two weeks, commemorative TAP cards will be available at all Metro Rail stations. They will also be available on Metro buses within a month. Cards will be available while supplies last.


21 replies

  1. The first TAP card I used expired after 4-5 years. Good thing the new cards have a long “shelf life”

  2. can people with orange tap card with pictures on them normally get the union station cards?

    • Hi Carlos,

      Yes, you can get the Union Station TAP card, but you won’t be able to transfer any senior/disabled/student passes onto it as the Union Station cards are the same as regular TAP cards.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  3. For those who purchased the commemorative TAP cards. I spoke to customer service over the phone at 866-827-8646 and was provided with the following information. I went to Union Station and purchased mine.

    1.) You need to wait 48hrs before you try to register it online under your account. Even customer service won’t able to manually add it for you. Apparently, the new cards aren’t in the system so you will need to wait for the serial numbers to populate into the system.

    2.) They already know that stored value cards can transfer. The customer service rep had to ask about the 30 day monthly pass. Yes, they can transfer the 30 day monthly pass from the old card to the commemorative TAP card with whatever remaining days left intact.

    3.) Yes, you can have more than on TAP card on the account. Not sure about the max.

  4. It’s actually good for 10 years (shows an expiration of 2024) when I checked it at the validators. Except I CANNOT REGISTER THESE CARDS ONLINE because of some stupid error message that says “Card with Serial Number (insert number here) not found(SBL-EXL-00151)”

    Metro, this is all I ask of you: fix the TAP website already. It’s getting ridiculous that we’re living in 2014 and the simplest of things can’t be done online and one has to call to get things done in your set time hours, in which your call center times suck because everyone has a job on weekdays from 9-5!

  5. Seriously, I am so happy about these designs! I’ve been geeking out to all my friends and encouraging them to take the subway more often! Hopefully, Metro can eventually release these as permanent card designs or at least more artsy designs in the future.

    I don’t quite understand the availability though. Once the rollout happens and the TVMs all around L.A. get the commemorative TAP cards, will they only have 1 card design each or all 3 stocked? So will the sticker only note which ONE design the machine has and we will have to travel from machine to machine to find the design we want or will every machine have all 3 designs?

    Also… asking as a layman, but why do TAP cards expire? Is it that difficult to make a TAP card that can work for a lifetime? Is there some technology that will eventually be outdated or other limitations within where a new TAP card is needed every few years or so?

    • Hey P.L.,

      They expire due to security and software concerns (software gets updated from time to time).

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi P.L.,

      Once they roll out to other rail stations, each TVM will only stock one design, which will be designated by a sticker on the outside. However, we will try to make sure that all the machines at each station stock different designs, so you should be able to purchase all 3 (if that is your wish) at one station – just not at one machine.

      As for expiry dates, it’s now at 7-10 years for TAP cards so that the cards can be kept up to date with any system changes.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  6. Got one of the commemorative cards today! Of course, I tried to register it at and it says my card doesn’t exist. I’m kind of not surprised at that.

  7. I’m an existing TAP card user with a monthly Metro Pass loaded on it, can I get a commemorative TAP card and transfer the existing monthly Metro Pass from the old TAP card on to the new one through customer service without purchasing a new monthly pass?

    • Hi Steven;

      You can try going through customer service but I’m not sure that will work. It’s probably better to use your existing pass on your current card and then next month load the pass on the new card.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. Can they be purchased individually without loading anything to them? Can I buy all three?

    • Hi Frogleggs,

      No, to get the commemorative TAP cards you will need to load them with a minimum of $1.50 (one-ride fare). There will be stickers on the TVMs to show which card design they have in stock, so you’ll be able to purchase all 3 without any duplicates!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  9. How can we know that the TVM’s have these cards? I would love to change from my existing plain card for any one of these! My current card is a few years old and this would be a noce way to make sure that the one that I carry does not expire. More cards like this are better for Metro in general. People will hang on to these cards and re-use them. They won’t see them as a one time pass and lose them. I know someone that was given a regular card with some value on it and lost it. A nice picture card they would have kept track of. Some of the “Art of Transit” pictures, pictures from the various Metro stations (with their artwork), pictures of transit vehicles in the various paint schemes (including vintage transit vehicles), a mini version of the 12-minute map, and picture from around So Cal from Wikimedia Commons would all make for great TAP cards. If one or two new designs were issued each month or so, as the standard card, people might pay the $1 just to collect them.

    • Hi Just a person,

      There will be stickers on the TVMs to indicate which design the machine has in stock.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • Hi Ron;

      Seven years until they expire. Tip: try not to send the card (as I do) through the washer and dryer too many times as that is definitely not good for them. 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. Anna,
    So the only way to try to obtain all three cards is to try different TVMs located throughout Union Station? you can’t buy each one through the Metro Service Kiosk at the East Portal?

    • Hi Jose,

      The TVMs will have stickers to show which card design they have in stock, so you won’t need to purchase randomly. They will be available at customer centers and other Metro Rail stations after this weekend.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  11. Are these the first commemorative TAP cards issued? I recall when I lived in New Jersey in 1997, MTA issued special MetroCards for the first-ever Yankees-Mets interleague series, and when I lived in the Washington area in 2008, Metro issued special SmartTrip cards to commemorate the opening of Nationals Park (one had an artist’s rendering of the ballpark, the other featured the Nats’ famed “curly W” logo).

    • Hi vp19,

      Metro has done commemorative cards for other events, such as the Expo Line opening and CicLAvia, or limited edition holiday cards, but I believe this is the first one done for an anniversary of a station.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source