Transfers between most TAP-participating agencies will be exclusively on TAP starting July 15

Transfers between most TAP-participating agencies will be exclusively on TAP starting July 15. Cash will no longer be accepted when transferring from one agency to another.

Pay with TAP when you board, then tap again when you transfer. Your transfer fare will be deducted automatically from Stored Value on your card, and your transfer will be valid for 2.5 hours from the first trip of your journey. Transfer costs are not increasing.

This mean in order to transfer between agencies, you must have a TAP card loaded with Stored Value. TAP cards can be purchased and reloaded at:

To learn more, visit taptogo.net/transfersontap.

52 replies

    • Depends on how they implement. Right now it sounds like a stealth fare increase. If you have 3-or-more boardings (I often do) with one interagency transfer then you can choose whether to transfer or pay full-fare. Right now you can do Muni + Metro + Metro and get interagency transfer because it’s going to be *more* expensive. (Culver + Metro + Metro for example would be: $1 + $0.50 + $1.75 vs what sane people would do $1 + $1.75).

      There is no information from Metro or TAP site on how it will handle such situations, will it retroactively change the fare type? Do you have to still ask for the transfer fare? There are no answers.

      • Hi,

        The answer from TAP staff: riders are not allowed to get a transfer on a transfer, so you would need to pay full fare on the last trip. That is the current policy. If you have additional questions, I highly recommend emailing CustomerService@taptogo.net — we can get you the answers here as well, but there’s more of a lag time than if you contact them directly.

        Anna Chen
        Writer, The Source

        • Hi Anna,

          According to https://www.metro.net/riding/fares/newfares-faq/, it is incorrect to state that riders are not allowed to get a transfer on a transfer. Under the question “How will the free transfers work?”:

          The number of transfers within the two-hour window is not limited; as an example, a customer could transfer from bus line 20 to the Red Line to the Blue Line to the Green Line, all with payment of a 1-Way Trip, as long as the last transfer occurs within two hours of the first tap.

          While it *is* true that an *interagency* transfer to Metro in the past was only valid for a single base fare, there was no publicly announced policy requiring customers to use an interagency transfer. We were free to decline it. If you or TAP staff believe otherwise, you might want to provide a reference to the exact policy you have in mind.

          For the record: the only way I was ever able to get a response from CustomerService@taptogo.net on this issue in the past was with Steve Hymon’s help. I’m not sure it would be helpful for The Source readers to contact them directly, when they do not reply to messages.

          Thanks,
          Allon

        • Anna,

          Commentor is not talking about getting a transfer on a transfer. In his example, Culver City => Metro => Metro, riders right now can pay full fare for Culver City and then full fare for the remaining two Metro rides for a total of $1 + $1.75 = $2.75. But under the new system, the first ride would be full fare on Culver City, an inter-agency transfer on the first Metro ride and then a new one-way fare on the second Metro bus for a total of $1 + $.5 + $1.75 = $3.25.

          Also if Metro is announcing a change, Metro should be able to provide answers to questions that riders have and not just pass people off to the next person.

  1. How will the system handle multiple transfers? Right now, muni-to-metro transfers are valid for a single ride: If I start with Long Beach Transit I can pay 50¢ for a transfer to Metro, but if I then take a second Metro trip I’d be charged the full Metro fare, even if it is within the time window. So if I know my trip is LBT-Metro-Metro, I’m better off not taking the inter-agency transfer, in order to make use of Metro’s free transfers. I believe it is possible to program this logic into TAP (retroactively cancel the inter-agency transfer upon boarding the second Metro vehicle), but will TAP be smart enough to do this?

    • There is also a quirk in the system when a municipal operator is the middle link in a three vehicle trip. For example a rider going from Malibu to Redondo Beach via Metro Bus 534, Santa Monica Bus 3, and Green Line could purchase a paper transfer on the Metro Bus and save their intra Metro transfer on their TAP card for the Green Line. Going the other way, they could tap on Santa Monica without purchasing a transfer and their Metro transfer will not be voided. However, the Metro tariff does state that Metro to Muni transfers void the internal Metro transfer. People will need to carry two TAP cards to avoid being subjected to the transfer rule. It is possible to program around this, as Clipper did when people were “rewarded” with transfer discounts transferring between agencies that voided internal transfer within agencies for two agency trips: http://www.akit.org/2012/05/clipper-card-fails-to-fix-problem-they.html

      • Bingo, if one is carrying to TAP cards to get around the intro-transfers void, not sure how exactly Metro can close that loophole.

        Not saying Metro can’t fix that loophole (they will eventually), but at least initially, I can still see people using the 2 TAP loophole.

    • Hi Ron,

      Current policy is that riders may not get a transfer on a transfer: this means for a Muni-Metro-Metro, or Metro-Muni-Metro trip, you will have to pay full fare on the last trip. If that’s happening now, it’s something we are aiming to correct. If you require frequent transfers between municipal lines and Metro, an EZ Pass may work better for you.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Hi Anna,

        The issue is not getting a transfer on a transfer. It’s perfectly understood that on a muni-metro-metro trip I need to pay for two rides and get a transfer on one. The question is which transfer to get: the 50¢ muni-to-metro transfer, or the free metro-to-metro transfer? Obviously, I’d prefer the free transfer. The question is whether TAP will be programmed to give me the better transfer option. Has this been considered by the TAP team?

        Thanks,

        -Ron.

        • Hi Ron,

          At this time, as it was explained to me, TAP will deduct full base fare on whichever trip is last. But I will check and see if the Metro transfer applies.

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

          • Hi Anna,

            Thanks for your reply. If indeed the full base fare is deducted for the last ride in a 3-ride trip, then on a muni-metro-metro trip it would be better to pay cash for the first (muni) ride, in order to avoid the muni-to-metro transfer penalty. Of course, this defeats the whole purpose of having transfers on TAP.

            When Transport for London introduced the Oyster card, they went to great lengths to ensure that Oyster would calculate the best way to have paid for each trip, even if it meant recalculating and adjusting the payments retroactively. I believe for a while they even had a guarantee that if Oyster calculated a higher fare for a trip than it could have, you could ask to get the difference refunded. This is important because in a complex system like London’s, with fares varying based on mode, zone, and time of day, the programmers might not be able to initially anticipate all complex scenarios.

            While not as intricate as London’s, the fare system in L.A. County, with multiple agencies running individual fare and transfer policies, has enough complexity that there are multiple legitimate ways to pay for a single trip. We need assurances from the TAP team that the automatic transfers are implemented in a way that does not put riders at a disadvantage by using automatic transfers.

            Incidentally, the muni-metro-metro transfer (which I and others have suggested on this page) is a fairly simple scenario. You can see a more complex one in a comment I posted on Steve Hymon’s article almost four years ago:

            https://thesource.metro.net/2014/09/15/reminder-new-metro-fares-take-effect-on-monday-sept-15/

            Thanks,

            -Ron.

        • Hi Ron,

          The answer from TAP team: for a muni-Metro-Metro ride, full base fare will be deducted for the second transfer. After that you will have the 2-hour Metro transfers.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

          • Thanks, Anna. This is disappointing: the TAP team says that they’re implementing inter-agency transfers in a way that disadvantages people who use TAP to transfer. It is clear from Allon Percus’s comments that the TAP team has been aware of this issue (muni-metro-metro transfers) for several months at least. So my next question is why: Is it a technical limitation? Is TAP not able to make retroactive adjustments like London’s Oyster? Is it a resources issue? Does the TAP team not have enough programmer hours to implement transfers properly? Is it a deliberate policy issue? If indeed Metro is introducing a new policy which requires people to take paid transfers which were not required previously, are they even allowed to do this without public comment? Are the people at Metro in charge of fare policy aware of this policy change that’s being introduced through a technology update?

            I realize it may be hard to get these answers, but I would really appreciate it if you could. I think The Source does a terrific job, and is much more informative than Metro’s other communication channels.

          • I fully agree with Ron: it is very important to have answers to these questions, and customers are far more likely to get those answers through The Source than through TAP Customer Service.

            I can’t overstate how crucial it is to be transparent and direct with the public here. As you have seen from the comments in this thread, Metro customers are not stupid, and understand perfectly well when the price of a trip goes up by 17.5% unless a complicated workaround is used. Trying to cover up such actions can end up having political ramifications that you do not want. Those who are opposed to rail expansion can easily and effectively portray this as a stealth fare increase, even if it is not at all intended that way. We don’t want another consent decree. If you are making technical changes that are likely to impact the fares people pay every day, please be scrupulously clear about those, so that nobody can accuse Metro of trying to hide anything.

            Let me join Ron in thanking The Source for making this kind of dialogue possible. Now please help us help you.

  2. Will there be unlimited transfers within that 2.5 hours? Currently, the paper ticket only allows one transfer.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for asking, we will ask staff and get that cleared up! Stay tuned.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • Hi Steve,

      Transfers will not be unlimited and will still be one transfer only.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • I doubt it. EZ pass doesn’t need to worry about transfers. TAP cards will always use the stored passes before using stored value.

    • Hi Lucia,

      There are no plans to phase out the EZ pass.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  3. Hi Anna, I saw optical scanners appearing at, Lake station on the Gold line. I thought we might be moving away from TAP toward since phone pass. What are those readers for?

    • Hi, those scanners are for Metrolink mobile tickets. TAP has not moved to mobile ticketing at this time.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  4. I get how you can but a transfer on Metro with TAP since they have a fairbox validator, but how would you do it on agencies that use mobile bus validators? or does it just automatically happen..like when I tap on LBT I pay $1.5 then on a torrance bus will it just charge $0.50 without the need to say anything??

    ALSO – It would make sense if on metro buses after your 4th tap that you just automatically have a day pass (value $7) instead of it charging you again and again

    I think its time for universal fare pricing across LA county! (and universal TAP/and fairs across riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Orange counties)

    • Hi Daniel,

      That is correct, if you’re making a muni-to-muni transfer it should deduct automatically.

      A fare cap is something staff is studying, we’ll update once we have more concrete information to share.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  5. In interested in the answer to Ron’s question as well. In addition, are Metro-muni-metro trips be possible for $2.25 like they are today? All the examples I’ve seen so far from other agencies involve stored value fares. What about a metro 7-day pass transferring to a muni?

    • Hi John,

      I was informed that riders are not supposed to be getting a transfer on a transfer, and that’s something this aims to correct. A Metro to Muni to Metro transfer will require full fare payment on the last trip. Any pass can transfer with the new policy.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  6. So if you board Foothill Transit, transfer to Gold Line, then transfer to another rail line it’s going to be $1.25 + $0.50 + $1.75?

    So really, this is a 50¢ fare increase since you can no longer decline the transfer?

    • Hi,

      That is correct, but that is the current policy as well. Riders are not supposed to get a transfer on a transfer, and if that is happening it’s something we’re trying to correct.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Ok so here’s a question:
        I usually go from Long beach Transit ($1.25) to Metro Blue LIne ($1.75) to Metro Red Line ($0.00 Metro Transfer) = $3.00

        So with the new automatic transfers will the following occurs:
        Long beach Transit ($1.25) to Metro Blue LIne ($0.50 auto transfer) to Metro Red Line ($1.75 Metro Transfer) = $3.50 !???

        I would hope not!!!!!!

        • Hi Daniel,

          Let me check and see if the Metro-Metro transfer applies in this case. Thanks.

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

        • Hi Daniel,

          The answer from TAP team: if you are transferring muni-Metro-Metro, it will charge the $1.75 on that last leg. You can bypass that by having two TAP cards, or paying cash on the muni trip and then using TAP on Metro for the free 2-hour transfers.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

          • Very disappointing – I am sure they can figure out how to make this work..

            Thank you for the reply.

      • Anna

        Thanks for your replies. However, once you enter the Metro system, one should have transfers for that $1.75 fare.

        Yes, It’s okay to charge the Muni fare with a transfer for those only making one transfer. (i.e. BBB to Expo). What people are asking is whether the system could charge the full metro fare (instead of transfer) once the third tap happens. Riders currently can pay one fare on the municipal line, then pay the full metro fare if they are making additional transfers. Metro is encouraging transit with first/last mile, this change penalizes those travelers instead.

      • Anna, what was described was NOT a transfer on transfer. Most people would not ask for the transfer on the first ride knowing they were going to pay full fare anyway.

  7. How will it work for employer Metro passes? Will they also cover non-Metro fare, such as LADOT Dash or other agencies automatically?

    • Hi Allison,

      A-TAP and B-TAP can only be used on Metro services. If you frequently use other municipal bus lines, you’ll need to purchase one of their passes separately or have stored value on your card to pay fare.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  8. Back in January, when “transfer on 2nd boarding” was first discussed, I asked Metro staff what would happen on a Muni-Metro-Metro trip. After a lot of nudging on my part, I finally got the following e-mail reply from a Metro staff member:

    There is a $0.50 increase using 2nd boarding.
    While there is an increase, customers will benefit from faster boarding and will no longer need to carry exact change.
    The efforts also aim to enhance customer convenience, improve fare media management and increase operator efficiency.

    This contradicts the claim above that “Transfer costs are not increasing.”

    The same message from Metro staff pointed out that I could always use two separate TAP cards, to avoid the fare increase. One TAP card for my first Muni boarding, and the other TAP card for the remaining Metro-Metro boardings. My concern is that a) this is ludicrous given how many people make such a trip, and b) Metro is not publicly informing customers of it. Of course, I do understand that a) and b) are correlated.

    Could we please have some transparency and clarity on the issue? Simultaneously claiming that there isn’t a fare increase and that there is a fare increase does not help anyone, least of all Metro.

    • Allon- unfortunately that seems like the solution in this case. Keep one TAP card for the muni lines and one for Metro.

      Using 2 cards, the muni-metro-metro ride would then be $2.85 (instead of $3.35) BBB example

      For the return Metro-Metro-Muni ride, however, you’ll just need the 1 Metro card, as that’s likely to be $2.25 total.

  9. This new interagency transfer (2.5-hour window) is not to be confused with the existing Metro’s own “1-way trip” (2-hour window). They have nothing to do with each other.

    Is that correct?

  10. The alternative to carrying two TAP cards (to avoid paying a transfer) is to pay cash for the muni portion of a mixed muni/metro trip with more than two legs. Cash is still possible except on the trains, which are all metro anyway, right? In fact, if you have a discounted (senior or disabled) TAP card, it probably isn’t possible to carry two cards, so paying cash is the only way to decline a transfer.

    Surely Metro could program its TAP card readers to continue the 2-hour metro free transfer window, even if there are rides on other carriers on the card. Why don’t they do that?

    • I think because the Metro 1-way trip means your trip can only consist of Metro rides, or else you break the 1-way trip. So your Metro 1-way trip ends at (1) two hours after your first tapping, or (2) as soon as you tap on a non-Metro farebox, whichever occurs first. That is why you cannot insert a non-Metro tapping during your Metro 1-way trip.

    • Actually, it is possible to get more than one Senior TAP card.
      I got a second one [for free!] at the Norwalk Senior Pop-Up earlier this week.
      [I talked to the Metro people there and they were OK with it.]

  11. How do I pay 50 cent transfer from Metro Rail/ Liner to Muni agencies, such as Foothill, Big Blue, LBT etc.?

    • Hi,

      You will need to have stored value loaded on your TAP card, and it will be automatically deducted when you tap.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • is it possible to load transfer in the station vendor machine, I think they have the option to get transfer loaded into tap card for 50 cent?

        • Hi Fred,

          I’ll check to see if the transfer option will remain available on TVMs, but I believe the idea is to discourage individual transfer purchase and use stored value instead.

          Thank you,

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

  12. 2 more scenarios that will result in fare increases:

    Metro => Culver City => Big Blue Bus. Currently, $1.75 for Metro, $1.00 for Culver City, $.40 for interagency transfer on Culver City for Big Blue. Total $3.15. Future, $1.75 for Metro, $.50 interagency transfer on Culver City, $1.10 new fare on Big Blue. Total $3.35

    Metro => Culver City => Culver City. Currently, $1.75 for Metro, $1.00 for Culver City, $.25 for intragency transfer for 2nd Culver City. Total $ 3.00 Future, $1.75 for Metro, $.50 interagency transfer for Culver City, $1.00 new fare on Culver City. Total $3.25

  13. What about with agencies that still require a purchase of a transfer in cash at this moment? (I ride Glendale buses and they have been on TAP for 3 years now: 1-way ride on their regular lines 1-7 is $1 regular/$0.50 SDM and on their express lines 11 and 12 is $2, and boarding their line 3 in La Canada ONLY is free and on the entirety of their lines 33 and 34, transferring to another of their regular lines is $0.25 regular/$0.15 SDM [these transfers CANNOT be used to reboard the same line, same or opposite direction, nor to transfer from #1 to #2 or vice versa], and transferring to a LACMTA bus or a bus from other connecting municipal agencies is $0.50 regular/$0.25 SDM) Will their current paper transfers also transition to E-transfers?