LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Subway riders traveling on Metro trains through downtown Los Angeles will soon need a special card to get through Union Station.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports some passengers are still learning how to use TAP (Transit Access Pass), L.A. County’s new fare payment system.
The TAP card is a durable plastic card that contains a smart chip which allows travelers to buy and electronically load Metro passes, some regional and local transit line passes, electronic cash, or any combination of the three.
The cards are activated when passengers tap them on a turnstile sensor that allows the user to walk through and ensures proper payment is made, according to Metro spokesman Paul Gonzalez.
“Latching means that the turnstiles will not be free-flowing until the TAP card has been used that shows the correct fare has been paid,” Gonzalez said.
While the card is not a pass in itself, TAP will function as a “transit fare wallet” that will unlock turnstiles at Union Station starting next week and other participating stations by the end of August.
Twenty-five additional transit agencies are expected to join the TAP system by 2014, according to Gonzalez.
“You’ll be able to travel literally from San Bernardino to Santa Monica, from Lancaster to Long Beach using your TAP card all the way,” he said.
Riders who are given paper transit slips will have to buy a TAP card to take the subway until the cards are implemented throughout the region.
Those passengers who are already using TAP are urging new users to pay close attention when loading their cards.
“I’ll put the fare up there, swipe it, and sometimes it wouldn’t work,” said one man.
Click here for a map of locations where a TAP card can be purchased.