Sunday, March 15, 2009

Get TAP'ped Today!

Happy March 15! Although it was a very unfavorable day for a certain Roman emperor, it's a great day if you're an occasional Metro rider. Today is the day you can purchase the $5 Metro Day Pass as a TAP card, which means like Julius Caesar, the paper Day Pass is officially history.

Until April 11, if you ride on a (M)etro Bus and ask for a Day Pass, they will give you a loaded TAP card (they will cost a one-time fee of $2 afterward). Keep This Card! you will be able to re-load it for $5 every time you go to a (M) ticket machine or on your next bus ride. No more fumbling for change and holding up the line to get into the bus (well, unless you pay for your $5 Day Pass with coins...)

And then you can do the cool stuff like this:

Actually, as an experienced TAP user, the Militant strongly recommends that you do not even have to take out the card. You can keep it in your wallet or purse, just as long as you place either of them directly on the TAP target. The Militant personally puts his wallet over the target and it does the beepy thing. And if you're slick enough, you can even keep your wallet in your pocket and plnt your ass on the TAP target...okay, the Militant wouldn't recommend that (especially on the bus), but it may or may not work when you have to rush to your train. TAP cards use an RFID chip embedded into the card to tell its value and to easily track ridership figures and patterns.

The regular monthly, senior, disabled, college and K-12 passes are all TAP-capable. Next comes the big test: TAP cards for cash fare riders, where riders can prepay a certain amount and have the appropriate fare cost deducted when they TAP. This is all part of a years-long program to eventually get all Southern California transit systems TAPpin.

So Stay Militant and Get TAPpin!


philpalm said...

Hmm, no paper trail so if the main computer is down does that mean everyone gets to ride for free?

I know fare boxes occasionally malfunctions and you get to ride free that particular bus. Which today I got a free ride into Chinatown.

Does this mean the end of bus token usage pretty soon?

Will Campbell said...

Please tell me tokens are still good. I have a hoard of them from back in the day when they were $9 for a bag o' 10.

Militant Angeleno said...

Will: Tokens will be phased out eventually. Maybe not within the next year or two, so start usin' 'em. They cost money and labor to re-collect and redistribute. Lest we forget, NYC, a city that's as synonymous with the transit token more than any other, phased theirs out a few years back.

Pablo said...

Way of the Future. I cut my tap up to four pieces and now I get four for the price of one.

Let the good times roll.

bgfa said...

That's funny Pablo. Does it really work?

Militant Angeleno said...

Haha. Unfortunately it don't work like that. The chip (no larger than one of the letters you're reading) is only embedded in one part of the card, and TAPping a piece that does not contain the chip renders it useless (and makes one look like a pathetic dork anyway).

Scott Mercer said...

Grrrr. Hate it.

Now, I am no conspiracy theorist or anything. I don't think the MTA is tracking my movements via the TAP card.

But, I do think it is the first step towards distance-based fares, which I object to. Mainly because I enjoy riding the train or bus just for fun. Crazy, I know. I don't do that every day, but sometimes on the weekend it's nice to take a ride out on the Gold Line to the end of the line.

And it is an inconvenience. With my monthly paper pass, I don't have to do anything on the trains. Only present it if asked, and I am almost never asked. True, I do have to present it to the driver on the buses, but I tend to take the train more than the bus. I am going to continue to get a paper pass as long as it is offered.

The other thing that people forget is that tourists use the paper day passes and they are disposable. It is something of an imposition to force tourists to buy a TAP for a day or two of use. And then, will they hold on to the TAP when they go back to Chicago, and bring it back with them the next time they come to LA? I highly doubt it.

You say that the TAP cards will be available on buses, but will that be permanent or only temporary?


philpalm said...

Supposedly you could find out what areas your stolen tap card has taken for whatever period it is used.

I doubt the bus driver could confiscate a stolen card....

J.M.G. said...

Dude, that video was so instructive. Haha. Had me rolling. And finally a reusable card. Can't wait to start TAPping it myself. =P

Anonymous said...

As a Metro rider only about twice to three times per month, I have a vexing issue that I can't seem to solve -- and have not been able to get an answer from TAP customer service.

I just want to load about $20.00 or so on my card to use when I ride Metro (let's say I take the 720 from Downtown and back again).

I don't want to load a pass for the day or for the month; I just want to use my pass as a "debit card."

How do I add $20.00 to my TAP card? It seems almost impossible to do online... I've been told I have to go to Culver City (wtf?) to do that.

Another option that I'm not sure I can do is, can I buy a preset number of day passes and have them activated when I need them?

Again, as an infrequent rider, I don't need to add a monthly pass to my card and sometimes I don't want to add a day pass either. Any suggestions?