By Paul Gonzales, September 16, 2015
Metro held a media event this morning to recognize that all 26 agencies finally joined TAP earlier this year. For those unfamiliar, TAP cards are plastic re-loadable fare cards that can be used to ride buses and trains throughout L.A. County.
TAP cards can be purchased at TAP vending machines at all Metro Rail and Orange Line stations, online at taptogo.net or at about 400 vendors throughout Los Angeles County. To learn more about Metro fares and using TAP cards to transfer between Metro buses and trains and other municipal-operated buses, please click here.
Here’s the news release and photos of the event from Metro:
METRO AND 25 L.A. COUNTY TRANSIT AGENCIES PARTNER TO FORM THE LARGEST SEAMLESS TRANSIT NETWORK IN THE NATION
Agencies join the TAP system
To make transit more economical and convenient for travelers, all 26 regional transportation agencies in Los Angeles County have joined the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the TAP network to create the largest seamless transportation system in the nation.
The historic milestone signifies that all municipal transit agencies in L.A. County accept TAP as a universal fare media and passengers can transfer to bus or train from any transit provider. Metrolink features a TAP enabled paper ticket and Access Services clients may use their TAP enabled card to ride on participating transit agencies.
“The milestone is significant because it shows how far we have come to create a seamless regional transportation system,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “You can now use your TAP card to get all the way from Lancaster to Long Beach. No more fumbling in your pockets or purse for change.
Bringing all 26 county agencies, with 3,800 buses, under the TAP umbrella has taken years of negotiations as each city and agency has unique needs.
“With a sense of purpose we, at Metro and our partners at the agencies, overcame many obstacles,” said Metro Board member and Lakewood City Council member Diane DuBois. “The unifying goal was to improve transportation throughout the county….not just for Metro riders…not just for the municipal agency riders…but for all riders including Metrolink and Access Services.”
TAP is a fare collection system featuring a smart card with a computer chip embedded within the plastic card. A new Tap card has an expected life of ten years and can be reloaded and reused.
“TAP may be new to some people, but we think that once they’ve used it, they will see that TAP is a great advantage over paying fares by cash,” said Metro Board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “Once registered at www.taptogo.net, a TAP card can be replaced if lost or stolen along with all remaining cash value or pass. So TAP is safer than cash.”
“TAP is the largest smart-card system in North America with over 23 million transactions and $14.5 million in passes sold every month,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “There are many ways to get a TAP card; they are available at our customer centers, at about 400 vendor locations in L.A. County, at any Metro Rail or Orange Line station or online at www.taptogo.net.”
Each transit agency relies on the TAP system for revenue dispersal and general managers of each municipal transit agency needed to be assured that the mammoth undertaking of tracking fares and reimbursement would be accurate.
“Altogether, there are about 650 individual products loaded on the TAP card and it charges the correct fare every time, including all appropriate reduced fares,” said Art Ida, Chair of the Los Angeles County Municipal Operators Association and General Manager for Culver City Transit. “Even though it looks like a credit card it is really a ‘smart card’ with all information on a chip instead of a magnetic strip.
The Tap website, www.taptogo.net, where riders can buy stored value and passes and apply for reduced fares, has been redesigned and is easier to use. In addition, TAP vending machines have undergone a redesign with colorful screens, animation, photos and a user friendly navigation bar. Nearly 98 percent of customers polled like the new simplicity of navigation.
The familiar blue TAP card has undergone several design enhancements including one to commemorate Union Station’s 75th anniversary, the 25 anniversary of Metro Rail and now sports a new color scheme with scenic designs of L.A. County landscapes.