TAP is now on iPhone and Apple Watch

We have some exciting news. Metro and riders on 25 other transit systems in Los Angeles County can now add TAP cards to their iPhone or Apple Watch beginning today. Here is the announcement made via Facebook Live by L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti and Metro Chief of Staff Nadine Lee. 

This is a safer, contactless way to pay fares and it means no more having to go to a station to purchase a TAP card or load fares from a TAP vending machine or a vendor. Using your iPhone or Apple Watch as a TAP card means you no longer have to dig a TAP card out of your pockets, purse, knapsack, etc.

In fact, as long as your iPhone or Apple Watch is powered on, you don’t even need to use Face ID, Touch ID or wake your  device. Just hold it near a TAP dial and your fare will be deducted. 

The feature is available on iPhone 8 and later or Apple Watch Series 3 and later with the latest iOS and watchOS. Adding a new TAP card to Apple Wallet is free.

To get started with Apple Wallet, follow these easy steps:

•Open the Apple Wallet app on your iPhone.

•Tap + at the top right corner of your screen

•Under ‘Transit Cards’ select TAP – Greater Los Angeles and follow the instructions to add a TAP card. You will then be asked to add Stored Value via Apple Pay.

To add a TAP card to your Apple Watch, follow the same process as above; just start in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

That’s it! After adding Stored Value, you are ready to use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay your fare.

This is part of TAP’s ongoing efforts to make riding as easy as possible for customers. Please try it out and let us know what you think! Learn more about TAP cards in Apple Wallet.

There’s also a new TAP app for iPhone that can be used to transfer existing plastic TAP cards to Apple Wallet, manage your TAP account and buy passes (1-Day, 7-Day, 30-Day, including Reduced Fare and LIFE).

Those with Android phones will enjoy the same convenience this Fall.

20 replies

  1. Will commemorative TAP cards (Union Station 75th, Gold Line Foothill extension) be shown digitally, or will Metro give users choices of artwork or photography on the virtual TAP cards? As a local photographer with a fair amount of Metro-related work I’d be interested in contributing!

    • Hi Ian;

      I’m not sure what the plans are designs for virtual TAP cards. I’ll ask.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • No it does not, just checked. Do also note, and I already know most people will complain about this even though Apple does this by design (Security Reasons): If anyone adds a Physical Card into Apple Pay, that physical card will no longer work. This is to prevent the physical card to continue being used in the event the card is lost/stolen.

      Again, this is not a bug, it’s an actual legitimate security feature and the TAP app will warn you in advance.

      • Hey just a note that you can still manage that cool, commemorative TAP card from the app. The app will show it as a blue regular card, but you will know what card it is because the card numbers will match. It will appear in your card carousel on the CARDS page and you can load it from your phone. You don’t have to make it your virtual card. If you want a virtual card, too, just add a new one — they’re free right now. If you already have a TAP account, all your cards will automatically be there waiting for you when you log into the app. If you don’t, you can add them and manage them. Hope this helps!

  2. I assume this will also work for people who have had senior TAP cards as well. It will be great when it is available for smart phones as well. Also, it will be an advantage for tourists who come to our area not having to pay for TAP cards that they may never use again.

    • Hi Rick;

      Yes, this works for those with senior TAP cards. Download the TAP app and transfer your existing TAP cards to an iPhone or Apple Watch.

      For any customer that converts a plastic TAP card to Apple Wallet, their plastic card will no longer work. However, we are asking that reduced fare customers sill travel with their cards to confirm their reduced fare status to a fare enforcement officer.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Two questions:
        1. I have a senior card which is shown in my iPhone TAP card, but there is no option to transfer it to the Wallet. Without the TAP in the Wallet, how is it going to work?
        2. Need to confirm if I understand it correctly: once the plastic card is transferred to Wallet (if it can be done – see question 1), the plastic card will no longer work.

        • Hi Joseph;

          1. If the option to Transfer to Apple Wallet does not show, check to make sure the software version and phone model meet the minimum requirements: iPhone 8 and software 13.6. This info can be found in iPhone Settings>General>About

          2. Correct. Customers will see a pop up reminder of this before they finish transferring their card.

          Hope that helps!

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • Hi Steve,

            Many thanks for your reply! My iPhone XR has the latest version, 13.7. After logging in back again, it now works like a charm! I noticed that it didn’t remember my email address and psw, so other than that, it is a nice app. Thanks for the nice work!

          • Hi Joseph;

            Great, glad you enjoy it. Should be a nice feature for riders going forward — and the Android version should be out soon!

            Steve Hymon
            Editor, The Source

  3. Can I buy passes at store using the iPhone? Or the tap app must be used to buy passes from now on if the card is transferred to iPhone wallet?

  4. Wow that was a lot quicker than expected. Definitely welcomed News, thank you!!! Still not riding anytime soon though, but the TAP will be ready.

  5. What if my TAP has sufficient stored value AND a valid pass already loaded? Will the TAP dial automatically recognize the pass and validate it, without touching the stored value?

  6. Apple’s Express Transit support page (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209495) says that you can use an iPhone SE/6s/6s Plus or later.

    Also, on the Where you can use Apple Pay for transit with Express Transit mode support page (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207958), it lists “Los Angeles: All transit operators that accept the TAP Card in Wallet.”

    Does this mean that if I have an iPhone SE/6s/6s Plus that I can use the TAP Card with Express Transit mode on? Why does Metro stipulate that you need an iPhone 8 or later?

  7. I thought that bus riders were not paying during the disease pandemic.

    I also though that Metro is considering a proposal to make transit rides free.

    • This was already being developed LONG before even that dumb idea lingered around. Also. Why stop development on something for a PROPOSED idea, that may or may not happened. Also while fares may technically be free on buses. I don’t recall them being free on trains, unless I’m mistaking.

  8. Can one phone be used for multiple people entering at one time (tapping in several times), or does each rider need their own phone?

    • Hi Martin;

      Each rider needs their own TAP card but it can be done from one phone. Here’s the process:

      4. How do I use TAP card(s) on my iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for myself and other riders?
      You can pay for yourself and others as long as you have a separate TAP cards added to Apple Wallet for each rider.

      At the TAP dial upon boarding, follow these steps to pay for each rider:

      Double-click the side button with your iPhone on the Lock screen.

      Select the TAP card you want to use.

      Authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode.

      When boarding, double-click the side button.

      Hold the top of your iPhone near the TAP dial.

      When it’s complete, you will see “Done” and a checkmark on the display.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source