More TAP updates going into effect July 15

ICYMI: starting July 15, transfers between most TAP-participating agencies will be exclusively on TAP, and Metro Day Pass sales will be discontinued on buses — you’ll be able to load your TAP card with up to $20 in Stored Value instead. Metro Day Passes can still be purchased at TAP vending machines, online at taptogo.net, by calling 866.TAPTOGO, at Metro Customer Centers and at 400+ vendor locations throughout L.A. County.

There are a few more changes that will also go into effect on Sunday, July 15:

TAP cards will cost $2 at all locations.

The change makes the cost of TAP cards consistent across the board. The $2 price will also encourage people to retain their cards, which now have a 10-year lifespan. Reduced Fare Senior, Disabled, K-12 Student and College/Vocational TAP cards will still be free with application.

TAP vending machine enhancements:

Stored Value can now be added in any amount.

Stored Value can now be added in $1 increments, with a maximum of $60 per transaction. Use Stored Value to pay for single rides on all TAP-participating transit agencies. You can also use it to transfer between TAP-participating transit agencies within 2.5 hours of your first trip.

Buy multiple TAP cards loaded with a Metro 1-Day Pass.

You can now purchase up to five TAP cards in one transaction, each loaded with a Metro Day Pass. Each passenger must have their own TAP card. For future use, each card must be reloaded individually.

EZ transit passes are now available

EZ transit passes can now be purchased at TAP vending machines. They are monthly, calendar-based passes that good for local and express travel on most transit agencies throughout L.A. County. Call your local agency to confirm which zone is needed for your trip.

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32 replies

  1. One thing that I would like to see is automatic debiting of our bank accounts when the TAP balance gets too low, like they do for seniors. I was disappointed to see this not in this update.

    • That’s already possible, it’s called Autoload. But as far as I know you still have to call a hotline that should be on the back of the TAP card to get it going. I don’t know if they moved that service online yet. Even so, my experience with it has been good. If you don’t ride enough to need a monthly pass but want something convenient, it gets the job done. Didn’t have to wait too long and got the process over with in 10 minutes.

  2. Hi Anna,

    Do you know why day pass sales are discontinued on buses?

    To the extent that day passes are useful at all, I think it’s important to be able to buy them on the first trip of the day — and for those who start their trip on a bus, this means buying on the bus. This is because TAP cards are programmed to use a pass before any stored value, so you shouldn’t really load a pass before you intend to use it — you can’t load it in the middle of the previous day when you have access to a TVM, if you plan on using stored value later in the day.

    Back when day passes were useful I used to keep two separate TAP cards: one with stored value, and one pre-loaded with day passes (this was before free transfers on Metro, when a day pass was cheaper than a single round-trip with a transfer in each direction). It was somewhat of a pain to keep track of the cards and decide which one to use on each occasion. Nowadays, when a day pass costs the same as four independent 1-way trips (with transfers), I find no use for day passes at all. I wonder: does Metro have statistics on how many day passes were sold before and after the 2014 fare change? And does it analyze what percentage of people who do use a day pass would have been no worse off by using stored value instead?

    Thanks!

    -Ron.

    • Hi Ron,

      The only statistic I have currently is this: Day Pass sales have declined over 70 percent since 2011.

      Thanks,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Fair enough; it would be interesting to see this statistic in more detail — my suspicion is that it’s not a gradual decline, but a rather abrupt decline right around the fare change of September 15, 2014. I’m also surprised that the decline in sales is only 70%, given the decline in the value proposition of a day pass (compared to stored value) as a result of the fare change.

  3. One little nit-picking: $1 increments are not “any amount”. With fares at the different agencies being multiples of 5¢, there are situations when you’d want to add stored value to your TAP in 5¢ increments.

  4. Hi all, couple of questions here.

    1. Are “free” transfers from the new Warner Center shuttle to the Orange line not possible? Last week during the 4th I tapped on the Shuttle and was deducted the 1.75 and then I tapped at the Canoga Orange line station before boarding the Chatsworth bound bus and was deducted 1.75 again. Also, will there be away to refute charges as minor as they may be?

    2. My understanding is that I can board an unlimited number of buses using the free transfer (within 2hr period) as long as I do not board the same bus line again? How about if I were to get off the 720, for example, and then board the 20? Would that count as a transfer or I’d pay a new fare

    3. I cannot ask a bus driver for a day pass and have the $7 deducted from my balance on the tap card?

    Thanks hopefully you can help with my questions!

    • Hi,

      The free Metro transfers apply to the Warner Center shuttle as long as it’s within 2 hours. If it deducted twice, please email CustomerService@taptogo.net for assistance in resolving this incident.

      The free transfers apply to travel in a single direction, so as long as you’re boarding a bus that continues your trip it shouldn’t deduct any fare. If you hop on a bus or train that is heading in your return direction, new fare will be deducted.

      With this change, bus operators will not be able to load a Metro Day Pass on your TAP card using stored value.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  5. To this date, prior to the elimination of the Day Pass on 7/15, you were Allowed to add a Day Pass, regular or Senior/Diabled, through the Tap Card System. Why Can’t this be REINSTATED? Unless MTA plans to INSTALL a TVM on ever corner, within the Current Bus Route. Not everyone has a credit/debit card to buy one through the phone or Metro App.

  6. These TAP updates are meaningless unless you use three-car trains on the Gold Line during am/pm peak times. Morning trains are packed by the time they get to Del Mar. You are discouraging people from taking Metro with overcrowded trains. Please pass that along to the appropriate people. Thx.

  7. Is the window for free transfers being increased from 2 hrs to 2.5 hrs for transfers from one Metro line to another Metro line, or does the 2.5 hrs mentioned in the article above only apply to transfers from a Metro line to a line outside of Metro?

    • Hi,

      The 2.5 hour window is for Metro to muni, or muni to Metro, transfers. Metro to Metro transfers are free within a 2 hour window.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • Hi Adam,

      Metro collects trip data which we use to analyze travel patterns and adjust service. We do not provide that information to outside agencies.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  8. If you go from a regional agency to Metro, and then transfer to another Metro line, it currently makes more sense to pay full fare on the first Metro ride. Come Sunday, there will be an extra 50¢ thrown in there.

    That’s assuming you’re using the same TAP card, of course. I have a second one gathering dust somewhere, so I can get around this… not that it would cost much in the first place, but hey, money is money.

  9. I take the west Covina silver streak aka foothill bus to purple line, would this bus be considered municipal bus to metro free 2.5 hours. Usually I buy a day pass to go at 4 and come home at 10, is it cheaper just to pay two routes? Thanks for writing this!

  10. Got a question about the 2 hour free transfer. If I get the 166 bus from the Chatsworth Metrolink station goinggoi Sun Valley, and get off at Nordhoff and Reseda to go shopping, will I be charged if I get on the 166 again continuing my trip to Sun Valley if I’m still within the 2 hour window?

    • Hi Rob,

      Yes, you will need to pay full fare again on the return trip. Free transfers are only good for trips in one direction.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  11. Do you want to increase ridership or not. Charging an extra dollar for a card that prolly costs you a cent, is not helping.

  12. what about if I have to transfer to our neighbor counties transit, such as OCTA and Omnitrans, which they do not accept tap card payment.

  13. I wish I can use my change to load into TAP. Sometimes I’m just short a quarter or 50 cents. I went to Japan last year. They have no problem with coins. Loading into TAP Stored Value is such a chore since they have so much limitations.

    • This is a start! Now you can load $1, which is better than loading $1.75 like before. But, I think Metro should allow people to add 25 cent.

      The reason they do this is because of that little known, but in plain sight-if you read the back of your TAP card, $1 is deducted from any Metro fare or stored value, after 18 months of non activity with that TAP card. I bet Metro & TAP make a ton of money from tourists who put stored value but never use once they leave LA!

  14. So I tried this out yesterday, when I had a trip starting with the Expo Line and transferring to the Culver City Bus. Instead of me purchasing a 50¢ paper slip from Metro’s ticket vending machine, the TAP system automatically purchased a transfer from CC Bus, which is 40¢. This shows that the transfer is being purchased from the second agency – the opposite of how it worked before. Of course, on my return trip, it charged me Metro’s transfer fee so the overall round trip price remained the same.

    • This is interesting if true. But also kind of logical that each system only has to know what it charges for a transfer.
      Of course it was never explained this way to the riders. So did TAP program everything wrong or just never bothered to explain how things would work to the customer?

      • There are two separate issues: fare policy, and the technology used to implement that policy.

        With paper technology, you had to buy the transfer from the first agency, because otherwise the second driver (or fare gate) would have no way to verify that this was indeed a transfer. Therefore, fare policy was written to require purchasing the transfer from the first agency.

        This technological limitation is eliminated by smart cards: TAP knows your first ride and your second ride, and can bill either agency depending on how it is programmed. What it actually does depends on the guidance and resources given to the programming team (and how good they are at executing this guidance).

        What we see with the new interagency transfers on TAP, both the extra 50¢ on muni-metro-metro transfers and the newly reported charging of transfers to the second transit agency, are changes to fare collection practice driven by technology: the TAP team is implementing policies that are different from the existing, published fare policies. My guess is that Metro is not giving the TAP team appropriate guidance on how to implement transfers in a way that’s consistent with published fares. This is bad for the public — we’re being charged differently than what we’re told we’re being charged — and my guess is that it could provide legal challenges to Metro as well.

  15. My understanding is for some reason Metro management had the impression there was a significant demand for being able to add stored value on buses. Operators bridled at handling two kinds of TAP functions and agreed to start handling stored value in exchange for no longer loading day passes.

    On Facebook today friend who drives Metro says the change is causing an uproar among passengers.

  16. I have a quarterly pass (from my employer) for both the Metro and Santa Monica BBB. This morning, I tapped on the BBB after riding the Metro and was deducted for a transfer. From what I could tell, it didn’t happen to any of the other riders who were making the same connection. Maybe it was because I had some stored value on my card (a whole 25 cents) and they didn’t.

    I called Tap To Go and the CS rep looked into my account and said he would request a credit back for the 25 cents. I asked him why it happened and he said it was “driver error” – not sure what that means since the BBB bus driver didn’t do anything.

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