Our friends at Big Blue Bus were originally going to launch TAP in March but with the equipment installed and in good working order, they flipped the switch on Thursday.
This is good news for Metro as the Big Blue Bus is one of the larger muni bus operators in Los Angeles County and has routes connecting Santa Monica to surrounding areas, including Westwood, West Los Angeles, the Mid-City area, LAX, Culver City and Beverly Hills. The Big Blue Bus connects to the Expo Line at Culver City Station and the Purple Line at Wilshire/Western Station.
From the Big Blue Bus website:
You can now pay with Stored Value, an EZ transit pass on your TAP card or with your Access ID card. You no longer need to show your card to the bus operator. Instead, tap your card on the validator as you board the bus. For fast and convenient boarding:
•Tap your card on the validator
•Look for the green screen that shows your card is valid.
•Board the bus and enjoy the ride.
Fares available on TAP
- EZ transit pass is a monthly-calendar pass that is loaded on your TAP card. It is good for local travel on 23 transit agencies, including Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.
- Stored Value is a pay-per-ride option for TAP enabled transit agencies. Stored Value is recommended for riders who would like to pay for their Big Blue Bus cash fare or transfer to other TAP-participating transit agencies. When you tap your card, the correct fare will be automatically deducted.
Note: Big Blue Bus does not offer transfers between its buses.
Regular fare riders can purchase a reusable TAP card for a small fee:
- Online at taptogo.net
- By phone at 866.TAPTOGO (866.827.8646)
- At one of nearly 400 TAP vendor locations (check taptogo.net for a location near you)
- At TAP vending machines located at all Metro Rail Stations.
- At Blue: The Transit Store located at 1444 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 (beginning March 2)
- If you qualify as a Senior, Disabled or Medicare rider, you can purchase EZ transit passes on TAP at a reduced rate, but you’ll need a special TAP card. For details and applications, visit taptogo.net.
How to use it
Simply tap your card on the mobile validator and then look for the green screen to verify that your card is valid. You are now ready to board the bus. Please load a pass, transfer or Stored Value before boarding.
Tap to Transfer Information:
Reminder: Big Blue Bus does NOT accept transfers between its own buses.
How will transfers between BBB and Metro (what we call Interagency Transfers or IAT’s) work?
This aspect of TAP service is a little confusing and it depends on which bus you begin and end your trip on:
- When you board a BBB bus first: You will need to pay the appropriate transfer fee in cash ($0.50 regular or $0.25 discounted) at the farebox and ask the BBB driver for either a paper transfer to present to the Metro bus operator OR a special TAP transfer to enter the automatic gates at metro rail station.
- When you board a Metro Bus or Rail line first, you may use stored value (if you have it on your TAP card) or use cash to purchase your Interagency transfer. Confirm with your Metro bus operator that the transfer has been loaded to your TAP card and then simply “tap” your card when you board your next leg of travel on Big Blue Bus.
Reminder: BBB does not accept transfers between its own buses- only InterAgency Transfers (IAT’s).
When will customers who board Big Blue Bus on the first part of their trip be able to use stored value to pay for intra-agency transfers and load the transfer on their TAP card (instead of being issued a paper transfer) to board a non-BBB bus or rail connection?
This can happen when BBB has a new farebox payment system that integrates with TAP. A timeframe is not yet available.
Just to make sure everyone understands: when you want to transfer from a Metro Bus to the Big Blue Bus, ask the Metro bus operator to load a transfer to the BBB on your TAP card. If transferring from Metro Rail, you can purchase the transfer at ticket vending machines, which are in all Metro Rail and Orange Line stations. Select a Metro to MUNI Transfer and follow the instructions on the screens.
Here is the Big Blue Bus route map:
Metro is working toward a regional system of paying fares — and that means getting all the local bus agencies in Los Angeles County to use TAP.
Current TAP partners include: Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Culver City, Foothill, Gardena, Long Beach Transit, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (which runs DASH buses and Commuter Express buses), Montebello, Monterey Park, Norwalk Transit, Palos Verdes Transit, Pasadena ARTS, Santa Clarita and Torrance Transit. Metrolink has its own TAP enabled tickets.