By Damien Newton, February 12, 2014
Late last month, the Mayor’s Office announced that city employees who work in or near the city’s core will be given a TAP card with an unlimited amount of rides on the Downtown DASH bus system run by LADOT. The TAP cards will replace fare tokens that are made available to city staff.
While the cards will not have funds pre-loaded to ride on Metro or other bus services, those purses can be added through the Tap To Go website.
While this is hardly earth-shattering news, there are a couple of reasons that this change is a good sign for both the city and Metro.
First, it seems that every time someone writes about TAP, there is more bad news about the beleaguered transit passes long-term rollout. For a change, this is good news. Literally thousands of new TAP customers will be instantly created and will be able to experience some of the versatility of the card with separate purses for LADOT and Metro.
Second, it’s always a good idea to make it easier for people to choose transit for making local trips. Dana Gabbard, one of the steering committee members for the Southern California Transit Advocates, explains.
“This action seems an excellent way to introduce folks who may not have used transit in the past to see it as a viable option, at least to sample some of the excellent lunch spots in downtown or to get from a rail station to their workplace,” writes Gabbard. “Maybe once they try it they may decide to use transit some weekend when visiting the Getty, LACMA, Natural History Museum etc. all of which are served by transit. Baby steps are one way to widen transit acceptance and use.”
While the Mayor’s Office ducked questions on whether or not this means a reduction in the city’s vehicle fleet is on the horizon, finding ways to reduce car demand will always lead to good results for the city, for the environment, and for Downtown Los Angeles in general.
In other TAP news, LADOT will announce the winners of their most recent TAP card design contest tomorrow.