Monday, April 20, 2009

Tap That Pass

Only slightly thicker than a credit card, the TAP is the daily, monthly and weekly pass - Los Angeles' RFID answer to NYC's Metro Card.

What they do:
  • Give you a satisfying beep every time you board a bus or train (note: it makes the same noise in the train station, but not on the busses, whether or not you have a balance on your card)

  • Pay your fare without taking your card out. Just wave your wallet or purse over the TAP station - like magic!

  • Stand up to the wear and tear of daily (ab)use, month after month (mine is over a year old)

  • Save you from paying for transfers within MTA (because, well, you have to buy an unlimited pass)

  • Let you reload your pass online

What they don't do:

  • Give you the chance to buy or reload a pass from your bus driver -- train stations are the easiest place to buy passes

  • Let you load up the cards with a set amount; you get unlimited passes only good for the day/week/month

  • Make life easier for Grammar Girl (people have a tendency to say "TAP Pass" just like "ATM Machine")

  • Give you your TAP card for free ($2 please)

  • Convince people to pay their subway fare

  • Keep monthly riders from getting citations

It is better than the paper passes in many ways. It makes more sense, and is easier to access. But it is unnerving that MTA requires tapping the card, even for in-station train transfers, and threatens citations if you do not. It is faster than swiping a card the way they do in New York City, but slower than flashing a paper pass.


LisaNewton said...

I participate in a BTap program sponsored by my place of work, so I was able to purchase an annual card, good on all metro trains and buses, for a fraction of the cost. Maybe your place of work would be interested in sponsoring something like this.

Bawdy the Squirrel said...

Lisa, what a great piece of advice. The A-Tap and B-Tap programs are excellent. At the time, my work is not participating in it, but I'm certainly going to urge them to do so.

For more information on annual passes at your work, you can visit the group-rate TAP programs page on, or call 213-922-2811