Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TAP Cash Purse

I'm not usually the first to break news about Metro operations in Los Angeles, but I discovered something when coming home from Long Beach on Monday morning. I was able to load my (rarely used) TAP card with stored value, in increments of $1. I then used that stored value to pay for not only my own transit on the card, but for a paper ticket for my wife (who's not bus-crazy enough to have her own TAP card).

Now, there has been no official (or even unofficial) announcement of this new feature from either Metro or the TAP contractor, Cubic. However, at both Transit Mall Blue Line station in Long Beach and 7th/Metro Center station in downtown Los Angeles, I was able to load cash value on to my card. (I only actually loaded any in Long Beach, but because of the novelty of this feature, I tested whether the machine would present me with the option downtown.) This may be an indication of a roll-out across the system, a mis-configured software push, a pilot program, or any of a number of other possibilities, but I will say that it was helpful in my travels yesterday. I also can't speak to whether or not this service is available at Metro customer service centres or on board Metro buses. Foothill Transit and Culver CityBus have offered stored value for some time.

LA transit bloggers, go forth and confirm at your local Metro Rail/Orange Line stations.

UPDATE: When I was in LA for Park[ing] Day (9/17/2010), I tried to do this at the Union Station Gold Line platforms. I was not successful, and I still haven't heard anything from Metro or Cubic on the subject.

2 comments:

mattapoisett_in_LA said...

Was there a menu function in the machine which allowed you to do this or did you just add a dollar and then tap to load? and did you try larger denominations?

I have found there are a lot of 'Hidden features" in the Tap program but there is not enough info among the users or the staff to make it work yet.

JN said...

Matt-

At the time, there was a menu function that facilitated loading a cash purse. Metro's machines, when I was last in LA (a couple of weeks ago for Park[ing] Day), had no such feature. It may be that Metro saw our posts on the subject and corrected the fortuitous error.