Transit Access Pass

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TAP - Transit Access Pass
Location Los Angeles County, California
Launched 2007 (soft launch)
2008 (monthly passes)
2009 (day passes)
Technology Contactless smart card
Operator Cubic Transportation Systems
Manager Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Currency USD

The Transit Access Pass (TAP) card is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport services within Los Angeles County, California. It is administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and is valid on a number of different transit systems in Los Angeles County including Metro Rail, Metro Bus, Metro Liner, City of Santa Clarita Transit, Culver City Bus, and Foothill Transit. More systems are planned to be added in the future.

The card and fare collection systems are manufactured by Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. and under contract from Metro, Affiliated Computer Services administers the Unified Fare System (UFS) and central call center (866-TAPTOGO) for all agencies.[1]


The TAP is a blue, or orange for reduced fare, credit-card-sized contactless stored value smartcard which can hold a Metro Pass. The TAP card must be tapped on electronic readers when entering and transferring within the system to validate it. TAP readers are integrated in bus fareboxes and standalone readers are located just outside of the paid area of Metro Rail stations. Because Metro Rail has a mix of barrier free and faregated areas, fare inspectors check to make sure TAP users have validated their card by using a wireless handheld unit. The cards may be "recharged" in person from ticket vending machines in Metro Rail stations, at Metro Customer Service Centers or online. The card is designed to reduce the number of transactions at Customer Service Centers. The card costs $2 and is only available with a fare media product (such as a day pass or stored value). Cards can also be purchased on Metro buses for $6, which include a day pass. TAP cards expire approximately three years from purchase.[2]

Currently Metro only sells monthly passes on the TAP web site, and sells monthly, weekly, and day passes at rail ticket vending machines. Stored value (cash purse) can be added onto the TAP card at rail ticket vending machines, retail locations, and online. Non-Metro agencies may sell transfers on TAP cards, which can be read by Metro TAP readers. For non-Metro operators, TAP cards are sold at their administrative offices or customer service centers.[3]

There are many agencies in Los Angeles which do not accept the TAP card. Transit agencies have been allowed to transition onto TAP at their own pace, and it is not a requirement for receiving Metro funding or participation in interagency transfer agreements. As a transition to full county-wide implementation of TAP, EZ transit passes are sold on TAP cards with a sticker denoting the month, for verification on non-TAP systems.


Prior to introduction of the TAP card, a magnetic stripe card called the Metrocard (not to be confused with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's card) was introduced in 1993 on Culver CityBus, with later expansion to Foothill Transit, Montebello Bus Lines, Norwalk Transit, and Santa Monica Big Blue Bus. The fare card only offered stored value, and was compatible with GFI Genfare fareboxes used by these systems.[4] The program was dubbed the Universal Fare System, or UFS, for future implementation throughout Los Angeles County.[5] Later innovations expanded the magnetic stripe technology for monthly and day passes.

TAP was initially tested by UCLA students, select businesses (A-TAP and B-TAP program) and Metro staff. In October 2007, TAP had a two-month test program limited to the first 2,000 customers. TAP was rolled out to the general public in February 2008 as a free upgrade for monthly pass customers, and on February 11, 2008, to replaced the stored value Metrocards for Culver CityBus riders.[6] Santa Monica Big Blue Bus opted out of the Universal Fare System program entirely and in 2006 converted their existing regional Metrocards to operate only within their system.[7] Other agencies, such as Foothill Transit and Norwalk Transit, transitioned from Metrocard to TAP in 2009.[8]

On March 15, 2009, TAP's scope was expanded to LACMTA day passes, which are now only sold on TAP cards on buses, although paper day passes were still able to be purchased at rail ticket vending machines.[9] TAP cards were issued for seniors and the disabled beginning January 2009,[10] and all senior and disabled riders were required to obtain TAP cards by December 2010.[11] In addition, on Foothill Transit, transfers are only provided on TAP, unless a passenger requests a paper transfer.

In August 2011, all Metro multi-day passes were converted to TAP cards. The existing monthly and weekly passes were converted into 30 and 7 day passes, respectively, with the period beginning on the first tap after the pass is purchased.[12]

Effective September 2012, all Metro Rail fares are sold on TAP, and paper tickets are no longer sold. All EZ transit passes have been converted to TAP with a sticker denoting the month for non-TAP enabled systems. The fee for obtaining a TAP card at rail vending machines has decreased to $1, to match those on buses with a purchase of a day pass. The fee at customer service centers and at non-Metro agencies remains $2.[13]

Gates will begin being locked by June 19, 2013.[14] All Metrolink tickets issued in Los Angeles County have been converted into TAP-compatible tickets, and local transit agencies will either issue rail transfers only on TAP or, for non-TAP agencies, provide a paper card to allow passage through the faregates.[15]

Agencies using TAP[edit]

A TAP gate at a Metro station


TAP is accepted on these services as of April 28, 2014:[16]



While Metrolink does not use TAP, the agency issues TAP-capable tickets for use on connecting services in Los Angeles County. The TAP functionality is only enabled on one-way, round trip, 7 day, weekend and monthly passes issued for trips to or from a Los Angeles County destination.[17]

Torrance Transit[edit]

Torrance Transit accepts TAP cards on Line 4.[16] The rest of the Torrance Transit lines do not accept TAP cards.

Orange County Transportation Authority[edit]

While the Orange County Transportation Authority does not use TAP, the agency will honor TAP cards when passengers board lines that directly serve Los Angeles (lines 1, 30, 38, 42, 46, 50, 60, 701, 721, 757 and 758) and at bus stops where OCTA buses directly connect with Metro buses.[18]


13 additional services are expected to begin accepting TAP cards in 2014:[16]


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  16. ^ a b c "Who Accepts TAP". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
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