Metro Diary: Planes, Trains, and Confusing Transfers with TAP

A middle-schooler shows a Japanese tourist at the Aviation/LAX station how to use the Metro system. (photo: sahra)

“Do you need any help?” I asked the tall Russian guy.

He was making a valiant effort to look nonchalant as he shifted his gaze back and forth between the Metro rail map at the Aviation/LAX stop of the Green Line and the directions printed out in his hand.

He needed to get to Hollywood and Western, he said. The Google Map directions got him onto the Green Line and headed east easily enough. But then, they directed him to pick up the Silver Line at the Harbor Freeway stop and do some other things that didn’t make much sense on his way to the 7th St. Metro Center.

I told him to come with me, as I was headed to the Sunset/Vermont stop, and walked him through the purchase of a TAP card.

Next to us, at the second ticket vending machine (TVM), a pair of French siblings was having trouble.

They had been staring at the machine for some time, unable to figure out why it was asking them for nearly $100.

I couldn’t figure it out either.

“You just need to put $3 on the card – you’re only taking two trains,” I said, pulling the girl over to the map to show her the route to take.

We walked back to the machine and began the transaction all over again.

Even knowing what they needed now, the process was still slow. The instructions in the machines are more set up for regular riders who already are familiar with what a TAP card is and know what they need to purchase. Riders that don’t speak English or Spanish well are plum out of luck. Moreover, the somewhat more helpful signs posted at the Willowbrook transfer stop (below) were completely absent from the Aviation/LAX stop – the place where they are probably most needed.

TAP instructions at the Willowbrook transfer point. (photo: sahra)

The French tourists still had questions about whether they each needed a separate card or could they just load one card with enough money to cover all their trips.

“You each need one,” I said.

They gave me a dirty look.

“It’s not my doing, I swear…”  I held up my hands.

Finally, everyone had their cards, got their luggage through the turnstiles, and had made it all the way up the stairs.

Oh, God, my heart sank as I stepped onto the train.

In the chaos of trying to help everyone, I had forgotten to “tap” my card at the base of the stairs.

Since I hadn’t, I assumed that none of them had either.

Awesome, I thought. I’m going to get a bunch of foreigners fined and thrown off a train in the middle of the night. Welcome to America!

I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

The best was not on the menu for the evening.

The announcements must have shorted out after the first stop because the doors were opening and closing in silence at each subsequent station. The French siblings and the cyclist standing behind me went into a panic.

“This is my first time riding the train,” the cyclist confessed nervously. “I’m not sure where we are and I need to get off at the Harbor station.”

In the dark, it was hard to see the station names as we rolled up. So, we helped her with the countdown to her stop.

She got off and I looked around to realize I had lost sight of the French siblings. It had gotten very crowded as the train moved toward the Willowbrook station. I hoped they hadn’t gotten off at the wrong spot.

At the transfer point, the Russian guy and I headed down the nearest exit, which happened to be the west stairs. When we realized the Blue Line was already at the platform, we high-tailed it across the street, crossed the tracks, and made it up to the platform.

As we ran, I had looked for a place to tap my card. I hadn’t been able to find one.

Oh, God, I groaned inwardly. Not again!

It was now almost 10 p.m. The monitors at the Aviation/LAX station had said the Blue Line was experiencing delays and that Metro was sorry. We didn’t know what that meant – were they running fewer trains or spacing them at greater intervals? Or, were they just behind schedule? Uncertain, we scooted onto the train just as the doors were closing, foregoing hunting for a TAP machine, missing the train, and waiting for who knows how long for the next.

“I really hope the Sheriff is understanding if we get stopped,” I told the Russian guy.

Don’t count on it, David Sutton, Metro’s Director of TAP Operations, told me when I confessed my unintentional criminal activity to him and told him about some of the challenges we had faced in navigating the TAP system.

“Always validate the fare on your TAP card before riding by tapping the card at a station validator or gate. I wouldn’t want you or your readers to get a ticket!”

“I tried!” I said, explaining we had headed down the west exit at the transfer point, not the east one (which is much better signed and has both a TVM and a TAP machine).

At the base of the west staircase were gates that you could exit to the parking lot or to the Blue Line. They had TAP validators, it appeared, but it didn’t seem logical that you would tap your card there for a train that was all the way across the street. Especially because the TVM outside the gates had been a ticket station exclusively for the Green Line before the TAP changeover.

I don’t think it even registered with me that we might have been able to tap the cards at that exit. At least, not until we were already across the parking lot, heading up onto the Blue Line platform, and realizing that there were no TAP stations between the exit we had come through and the train.

Do we tap cards here upon exiting the Green Line to transfer to the Blue? Tapping the the card to go up to the platform for the Green Line makes sense. But, tapping to exit doesn’t, as you aren’t in proximity of the Blue Line at this exit. Signs would help make that clear to riders.  (photo: sahra)

Even when TAP stations are placed between transfer points and accessible, their positioning and lack of signage can leave riders confused.

In transferring to the Red Line from the Blue Line, for example, I spotted two validators next to the staircase railing. I would have missed them completely if the area had been more crowded, if I had been a tourist, or if I was on my first trip through the station. Moreover, they weren’t marked, so it wasn’t clear what they would be validating. Was the validator noting the specific train you were riding or only the fact that you had paid to ride a train from the transfer point? What if it validated us for the wrong train?

We watched other people, figuring that they would know what to do.

This was not a fruitful approach. Nobody even bothered to look at the machines.

“Let’s do it, just to be safe,” I suggested.

I tapped my card and felt moderately less criminal at seeing $1.50 deducted.

TAP validators for those transferring between the Red and Blue or Expo Lines at the 7th St. Metro Center.

While I may be guilty of over-thinking things, this was my first time transferring trains since the new TAP machines were put in place. And I was in the company of people who were completely new to the Metro system. Because of that, the gap in information available for riders about when and where to tap your card once you purchased it seemed glaring to me.

I actually retraced my route the next day to see if perhaps my being very tired after a long day of traveling was to blame for my faulty navigation of the system.

Nope.

At the Aviation/LAX station, I watched a very sweet middle-schooler shepherd tourists through the process of buying a card and figuring out how many trains they needed to take. He had just gotten out of school and was waiting for his mom, who worked in the area. They rode the Green Line back and forth to Downey together several times a week. There wasn’t a day that went by, he said, that he didn’t have to help at least two or three people with buying tickets and/or finding their way.

As he spoke, a man trying to buy a senior pass erupted into angry gesticulations at the TVM. He was apparently not an avid reader of The Source blog, which recently ran the instructions on how to do this. If I hadn’t seen that post, I can honestly say that I would not have known how to help the man find the fare he needed, either.

As I spoke to Metro’s Sutton about some of the glitches I witnessed, he kept emphasizing that much of the information riders needed was available on Metro’s website.

While this is true, outside of the transit enthusiasts, I’m not sure that regular riders (particularly lower-income people with less access to the Internet) regularly keep up with The Source or with updates about the changeover to the TAP system via the website. Even if they do keep up with the news, erring on the side of having more information available to patrons at stations would help Metro mitigate the user-unfriendliness of the system as it transitions.

Unless, of course, the confusion about the system is part of a secret plan to bring Angelenos together by forcing them to help each other navigate the TVMs and TAP validators.

While he is happy to hear that patrons are helping each other navigate the system, leaving Angelenos to fend for themselves is not Metro’s plan B, Sutton told me.

They are working to make a number of changes, and have been compiling a set of recommendations that they will be taking before the Metro Board of Directors in October.

Some of the things on the to-do list include finding ways to make the TVMs more intuitive by changing the overhead sign information and modifying the screens and menus. They are also in the design phase of adding new signage to make TAP validators more prominent so that people know to “TAP HERE” when transferring from one line to another.

Part of that redesign will entail relocating the validators so that they are both obvious and convenient, Sutton said, including those currently located next to TVMs (see photo above for example). Although right next to a TVM might seem like a convenient location for a validator to be, for whatever reason, it simply isn’t working. People are diligently buying their TAP cards and loading them with the necessary cash, Sutton told me, but forgetting to tap the cards.

I asked how long would it take before these changes were implemented.

He didn’t have a specific answer for me, but wanted me (and you) to know that right now, the conversion to the TAP system has top priority within Metro, and they are moving forward on improving things as fast as they can.

Putting staff out at major stations for special events, such as a USC game, can happen quickly. Moving hardware around can take some time because of costs and re-wiring. Software changes to how TAP cards are read or the menu choices offered at the TVMs can be implemented within a few months, he said.

But even deciding what changes to make to something like a TVM menu presents a significant challenge. As it is, the TVMs offer riders many options — day passes, senior fares, single or multiple rides, etc. — and finding the best and most intuitive way to present those within the older machines hasn’t been easy.

As riders get more sophisticated, they want more options. Families taking the Expo line to the USC games, for example, would prefer to have one card that they can pay for everyone with. In other cases, people have loaded their cards with day passes and single rides at the same time, only to have the TAP validator deduct the wrong fare. Right now, the machine scans the card for a pass first, and doesn’t give you the choice of just deducting a single fare from your cash balance.

Ideally, Sutton said, he’d like to see the machines be more like candy machines, where you can see the product you need and the cost. He also understands that people would probably prefer to have more of a touch screen format, perhaps with icons, that was faster and easier to navigate. But retro-fitting the machines without running Metro into the poorhouse is no easy task, he said. And new machines are not cheap. Cubic, the company currently contracted with Metro to provide the components and support for the TAP system, has some very interesting and easy-to-use new machines, according to Sutton, but any replacement of the current machines (if it occurs) is quite far off in the future.

“There’s no question that our system should be better,” Sutton concluded. And, he feels, it will be better. But making it better definitely takes time.

We’ll be checking in with Metro about pending changes once the recommendations are taken to the board. Have your own suggestions? Leave them below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Hello

    Question: If we have day passes as well as stored value on the TAP card, and you simply TAP into a subway or a bus, how does the machine know whether you want to use your day pass or stored value?  Neither bus drivers nor sheriffs seem to know.

    One suggestion: If you want to load money on the TAP through the website with your credit card, it takes a day or more for that money to be usable on your card. Metro website, would you at least let us know about this delay before we load money on our cards online?

  • Mmatasc

    Interesting article, glad to hear Metro is being pro-active to fix these growing pains.

    Personally I don’t find the TAP system to be any more difficult than Boston, the last city I lived in. The vending machines themselves have been a little frustrating as they don’t always read my credit card, but seem pretty straightforward as to adding a fare/buying a card/adding a pass (of course I am a veteran rider that speaks English).

    And I agree that the TAP cards themselves could be significantly improved, particularly allowing you to “TAP” twice. 

  • sahra

     David Sutton told me about a case with a person that had just that problem. The man called and said that the machine had taken the Day Pass (it scans the card for that first) instead of the one-ride fare he had wanted to use. He was reimbursed once officials ran the card number. But it isn’t fixed yet–it is an issue they are aware of but is still in the works because it requires some serious changes to the system…where a user can interact with a TAP validation machine, something they aren’t set up for as of now. Or a reconfiguration of what the machine scans for first.
    (At least, as I understood it from my conversation with Mr. Sutton)

    Re: your suggestion, I’ll pass it on.

  • Glendale

    I have traveled all over the world and the TAP implementation seems like reinventing the wheel for some reason. I am constantly helping tourists, elderly, and new riders because it is so confusing. I still don’t understand some of the inconsistencies in the system. The menu options on the machines make no sense to those that aren’t familiar.

    Some people tap on the way out….Is that supposed to happen?

    Having to pay for a card (free elsewhere) that expires (most don’t elswhere) seems crazy and inconvenient. Make it a deposit system or make it so that it doesn’t expire. My TAP balance still isn’t viewable or loadable online due to a “glitch in a batch of cards”. The Metro rep at Union Station said she could not exchange but I could buy a new one. Seems lame.

    How about putting validators in the main walkway? A line on the floor or overhead sign that says “entering fare payment area use validator here” makes it clear. Layout is always so mumbo-jumbo.

    QUICK FIX: Posters in ever station that say “Guide for New Riders…How to ride & What is TAP?”.  The TAP concept is not inherently obvious for many and many many many people don’t get the tap for each segment concept.

  • Brianmojo

    If you gate all entrances to platforms or create a pseudo-gate with the validation machine next to it, this will solve all of the ‘missed validation’ problems. People expect to have to cross a threshold of some kind — a ticket-checker, if you will — this is where they expect to be charged. 

    The real problem is the ‘pay-per train’ model. It’s simply not a serious way to charge. You can’t have reliable, expected locations for the validation stations because you are expected to tap in the middle of your trip and there’s no psychological association to make with that — it’s like exiting a movie theater to use the restroom and paying to return and watch the last half of the film. 

    The solution is to simply ask people to tap in and tap out for every ride and have software do the calculations. Load up your card and tap on a validation machine or gate when you enter, then tap on a validation machine or gate when you arrive at your destination. Software calculates your distance traveled and charges you an appropriate amount. If you need to transfer between, say, the green and the blue line, you tap when you exit the green and tap when you arrive at the blue. Software understands this as a transfer on the same journey as it happens within a set amount of time. Tokyo works this way, essentially, (although with tiny paper tickets) and it’s very efficient.

  • Ubrayj02

    TAP has nothing to do with fare evasion. It has nothing to do with convenience. It has nothing to do with making transit more accessible, nor safer. TAP is a means of funneling federal homeland security money through Metro to hire more college graduates and execute construction contracts. TAP is a means of tracking, and later selling, our travel patterns to advertisers. It is a means of criminalizing ignorance of an overly complicated, techno-narcissistic,  self-serving bureaucracy. Like the hangar full of transportation engineers hired with Measure R money to study and design freeway projects to drive us beyond bankrupcy, TAP is a system that costs more than it saves with the intention of driving us toward austerity. The intention is to do to Los Angeles County what all the bond buyers and Wall Street firms have done to numerous third world countries.

    We borrow money, or are granted it, and spend it on huge projects with no return or a negative return. When maintenance bills come due, we borrow to pay them. When we cannot pay our bills anymore, instead of telling our lenders “tough shit, we’re broke”, we are instead going to be forced to auction off all this infrastructure at bargain basement prices.

    TAP should have been implemented at every freeway entrance in LA County – since nothing has done more to ruin multiple local economies within the county than our car-only investments in intra-urban automobile travel.

    I despise TAP, because the people behind it despise me and people like me.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone on their board ever been to:

    London
    Seoul
    Shanghai
    or even, you know, San Francisco?

    Have they ever even used TAP?

    Good lord.

  • MarkB

    TAP is a combination of contractor rent-seeking and Metro’s inability to pass on “free” dollars. Remember the original justification? The turnstiles were going to sniff-out bombs as people passed by. It was all in the name of security, so just shut up while we funnel money to Cubic!

    There are arguments to be made for turnstiles but “homeland security” isn’t one of them. The whole botched installation, from begining to not-yet-in-sight end, is a sorry example of what happens when a question has to be invented to fit the existing answer.

  • Ubrayj02

    The last time I was in London and Paris, paper tickets did the job nicely.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with BART in San Francisco is, if you want to get from SFO to Berkeley, the map says to take the red line, but you’ll be waiting all day for the red line. Also, being on the right platform doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be headed in the right direction, unlike in Tokyo.

  • Anonymous

     traal – the funnny thing is I commuted on BART daily for a year and couldn’t tell you which color which line was. I agree the map is a bit confusing, but if you look at http://bart.gov/images/global/system-map.gif they do note that this “red line” only runs on weekdays before 8; otherwise you take the Pittsbug train and transfer. This may be unfair, though, as I used to live near Ashby bart and made that trip many times.

  • Ugh.  Cab it and forget it.  What a freakin’ hassle.

  • Davistrain

    Although I don’t use Metro that often, I do have a TAP card.  Up until now, If I just wanted to take the Gold Line to Union Station during off-peak hours, I could buy a Senior* ticket for 25 cents, and buy another one for the return trip.  With TAP, it would appear to be easier to just pay the old-timer day-pass rate ($1.80) and avoid doing any more ticket machine transactions for the rest of the day.  I agree with the posters who call TAP “a solution looking for a problem”, and wonder how much wining and dining of transit official Cubic Corp did.  We got along fine with the open-access system for twenty years—why do we need gates all of a sudden?

    *My first transit experience was riding the Pacific Electric in the 1940s.

  • Eric B

     There’s a really simple solution to the day pass vs. single trip validation problem: fare capping.  If you only allow the card to deduct a maximum amount ($5) each day, then as long as the customer taps properly, the card will do all the math.  There’s no need to change the physical validators if they just get the back-end system set up properly.

    In just about every other city with smart cards, you load cash and then go about your trip while the system worries about deducting the proper fare.  The hassle associated with the way Metro chose to do this just about stopped me from riding for three months (until my employer started buying monthly passes).

  • Eric B: 

    Metro’s reply to a fare cap solution is “it’s complicated”. I honestly don’t get that; when you Tap, the validator instantly registers the Tap, sends it to the central database, retrieves your fare balance, and displays it on the validator screen. (Or sends a message that you have insufficient funds.) TAP registers and saves every single time you Tap a validator. As soon as you Tap, that Tap gets registered, and you can access that list on the TAP website immediately. All the central computer needs to do is scan through the Taps you’ve made during the day to figure out if you’ve hit the fare cap or not. It’s not rocket science. 

  • sahra

     With regard to the question of why the locking of the gates…I know there are a lot of arguments back and forth on this (see Josef’s and MarkB’s comments below, for example), and I don’t have an answer for those…As a new writer this year, I’m late to long-running policy discussions and would really need to go back and research the early discussions on TAP.

    That said, I will say that my experience is that there are many riders that I know that have never bought a ticket despite riding Metro on a semi-regular basis. They tend to skew younger — highschoolers, for example — and hop on to take it between one and three stops (not to get to school–those kids usually have passes). They have been open with me about not buying tickets and don’t necessarily see themselves as doing anything wrong by going one or two stops. I’ve seen that most frequently on the Red Line, because it is so crowded and the stops are so close together. I see it on the Blue Line, too, especially at night, when youth will ride from Willowbrook to 103rd St. (just one stop), for example, just because walking those 10-20 blocks is too dangerous.

    It is obviously hard to know how many are not paying as they ride because, well, they aren’t buying tickets. So, if anything, it will be interesting to see if TAP changes those patterns. Also, those kind of riders — the occasional, one or two stop riders — might highlight a need for Metro to change its fare structure around… maybe a modified/reduced fare monthly pass for occasional short hops? A system that lets you tap out, so that it can see you are only riding one stop and charges a reduced rate for that? Who knows. Some of the commenters are concerned about having movements and patterns tracked. If Metro’s intentions are good and they could actually capture folks’ tapping in and out and have the capacity to track patterns, they might actually learn more about people’s needs and be able to respond to them with a better fare structure, TAP card options (like a family card), or whatever. Data collection doesn’t always have to be part of a nefarious plot…without good data, it is hard to make good policy decisions. But that means that good policy decisions would have to be the objective…

  • Anonymous

    99% of the employees who work at One Gateway Plaza do not ride Metro on a daily basis.

    And it shows.

  • Anonymous

    “Especially because the TVM outside the gates had been a ticket station exclusively for the Green Line before the TAP changeover.”

    WTF?  What kind of Stupidity is that?  Why couldn’t the TVMs at the connection stations print both lines on the tickets.  Do they still pull this crap for the paper transfers?

    Again, does anyone at Metro *EVER* think this stuff through?  It ain’t brain surgery!

  • Anonymous

    “He didn’t have a specific answer for me, but wanted me (and you) to know that right now, the conversion to the TAP system has top priority within Metro, and they are moving forward on improving things as fast as they can.”
    Sure, why not.  This program has only been in development for 10 years(!)!:
    http://www.metro-magazine.com/Article/Print/2006/02/Shifting-to-Smart-Cards-A-Tale-of-Two-Cities.aspx

  • Anonymous

    “There’s no question that our system should be better,” Sutton concluded. And, he feels, it will be better. But making it better definitely takes time.
    Then until that day, will you be waiving the fare-vioaltion citations and not locking the turnstiles, Mr Sutton?

  • Anonymous

    From: http://www.metro-magazine.com/Article/Print/2006/02/Shifting-to-Smart-Cards-A-Tale-of-Two-Cities.aspx

    “For those keeping score, this meant approximately 4,000 new smart-card readers for buses, 400 for railcars and about 350 off-board machines in transit stations. Though talks started around the mid-1990s, it wasn’t until 2002 that the MTA awarded a contract to San Diego-based Cubic Corp. to install what the agency dubbed the Universal Fare System (UFS).”

    So where are the on-train-car readers LA Metro apparently paid for?

  • Anonymous

    Boston has staffed stations.  And they give away their RFID (Charlie) cards.  Plus their turnstiles were set up to read both RFID cards and the previous mag-stripe cards (so commuter rail passengers were not impacted).  

    Of course the MBTA had to fight off a lawsuit from Cubic in order to get a supplier that understood the needs of a transit user:

    http://www.winston.com/index.cfm?contentID=154&itemID=3812

    And when Cubic did later finally get their fingers into the MBTA fare collection system pie, this happened:

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/05/forged_subway_p.html

  • Anonymous

    What are those TAP ambassadors costing and why can’t they be given 50 blank TAP cards to give away at their discretion? The things don’t actually cost that much.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the original justification for the turnstiles was due to Yvonne Burke’s constituency being too stupid (according to her) to understand what “Fare required past this point” meant?

    Which is interesting given that the only surface light rail station in the entire system with turnstiles (Compton) is is her, (now Mark Ridley-Thomas’) district.

    They do force passengers to pass by cameras which are no doubt using all sorts of modern technology (until it breaks) to keep us “safe”.  Except those cameras and the computers/operators behind them may end up costing a boatload of money.

    So who’s bus line we gonna cut next?

  • Anonymous

    Traal, the line colors on BART are only for broad reference.  It is the destination of the train you want to focus on, and even then you may have to change somewhere in Oakland.

    As for the Metro Board:  With a couple of exceptions, of course they do not use public transit.  That is for “the little people”.  They are busy and important and need to get where they are going!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leona_Helmsley#Tax_evasion_conviction

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/11/17/investigation-uncovers-extravagant-spending-on-metro-construction/

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/08/la_county_supervisors_chauffer_service.php

  • Erik Griswold

    I was recently on a Metro Local bus when the LASD boarded and asked to see everyone’s TAP card.  I guess it doesn’t occur to people who never ride a bus, like those deputies or the brilliant person at Metro HQ who ordered this useless waste of labor $ that one can board a bus with cash (or a Metrolink Ticket or a paper transfer from a non-TAP muni) and possibly not have anything to show for themselves.

    Effing scary given what happened to that lady in Pasadena.

  • PC

    Or…or….just do what they do in New York City, and what locked gates are supposed to be for in the first place, and toss out the idiotic pay-per-train model altogether. One tap, one ride, no matter how many trains it involves. Sterile transfer area within the station. No need to tap out.

  • Veniceactivist

    Yes, I am furious , frustrated and now a
    definitely NOT smiling person, no more !  I feel cheated, misused
    and  definitely uninformed and with a high educational degree, I know I am
    not stoopid …tho the fake-obtuse non-explanatory video with text in those
    mechanized machines trying to ROBOTOIZE US ALL has me telling everyone about my
    awful experience of being cheated.   Wanna know what happened ?

    I want and always have due to older age purchased a Senior Ticket. NO SCREEN
    ALLOWED me to do so  [at Wilshire/Vermont and Civic Ctr stns]

    Finding that I could not purchase a paper ticket as before for the 
    infrequent times I ride the rails, I stood for a long time trying to push
    buttons and follow directions dutifully and was TOTALLY CONFUSED because there
    was no access or Sr. fare available. A nice young fellow at adjacent machine
    saw my rising anger, offered to assist me, showed me, explained what he knew
    and inadvertently helped me buy a “regular” tap card, his not knowing that it
    was only good for 1 day and not a Sr. card either, so I put in my $1.25 for the
    ride downtown.

     

    But upon trying to return back tho, there was NO ONE PRESENT
    at machines at Civic Ctr and as I kept trying to access a Sr. fare back, there
    was no such display, even after 35 minutes of going “back” and trying all
    buttons to get to where such info could be hiding. I was sweating, tired, feel
    dizzy and needed to sit down and could not. There was no way I could do
    anything right !   I finally thought to “add
    to Tap” and put on $1.50 more to card, but it was now a cost of $2.50 for what
    should be a 25c ride on a Saturday for an old lady.

     

    Finally a man came to adjacent machine, and when I asked him
    for help, he too DID NOT KNOW AND COULD NOT get a screen for any senior fare to
    come up and stay visible. If it did show up 2x it flicked out immediately,
    leaving me with no way to get it back. He too became frustrated both at me not
    accepting what he did NOT know enough to be helpful, which he wanted to be, and
    with my delaying his trip. He finally walked away cursing at the machine. As
    was I.

     

    If I cannot understand and follow and get the AUTOMATED
    MACHINE SYSTEM to give me the appropriate rate and fare and tap of approval for
    all the efforts, time, work, and emotional distress that resulted from being forced
    into a ROBOTIZED interchange, something is very very WRONG ~~~~ awful, bad
    enough to get me to write articles, tell everyone how bad MTA is treating us
    assuming they know what they are doing [tho not how the American Los Angeles
    Public responds] to what is a set-up for difficulty, failures, confusion and
    dislike. Of MTA.

    and then for tourists, of LA itself also.

     

    If this is where we, as a civilized society are going, I am
    not. I am exiting sooner than later if I am being forced to not travel within
    the city because MTA created a LOCKED UP SYSTEM that is only for those regular
    users who daily travel and learned how to do whatever I cannot seem to fathom
    even if I read,  write, speak and think
    in English and the slow video is cumbersome and unintelligible, to the
    intelligent too. And the rest are left to learn as best they can, if they can.

     

    And anyone coming into LA w/o an
    MTA-educated-experienced-helper is stuck with overpaying and finding their tap
    card is also only limited for that 1 day, no matter if they overpaid or did not
    want to be buying it for that short day only. 
    Do we want to get rid of all tourists, foreigners, visitors,
    under-educated, and those who don’t Have-To ride these rails ?

     

    The buses are still available to pay cash, which is the
    world I want to live in, not a credited-card-tap-or-fail. But they do not go
    everywhere we want to use pubic [all of us are the Public, not just the workers
    who have to use this system] transportation. 
    If they cut out cash payments, we are really sunk, very low, too low already
    compared to other more friendly-transportation-systems. These are deadly
    machines that only communicates to those who are inhumanized already = as the
    govt lords have decreed that we are only to use numbers, computerized
    documentation, machines that don’t respond and no one is present to
    trouble-shoot-us or shoo us away from their cold metal surfaces either.

     

    Can you tell how angry I have become, discussing what I feel
    and think from that 2x attempt to ride the MTA rails ?   Yes, and the experiences are not for nought
    but have now pressured me to act in any small ways an individual can in this
    continuously-more-impersonal-mechanized LA we no longer recognize as ‘our town’.

    Yuk !  MTA is not a
    system anyone can applaud, like, want to use unless they have no other means to
    get somewhere else. MTA needs to wake up and find other ways of helping the
    PEOPLE in LA pay for transportation, not just unintelligible incomprehensible
    Machines !!!!!

  • calwatch

    You need to get one of the senior TAP cards. Originally they were requiring seniors to get the senior TAP card, but now they aren’t any more and are using this oddball blue card loophole, to meet FTA requirements on half fare.

  • calwatch

    File a complaint with LASD. Doing it here does no good. They do investigate, although you may want to use discretion on your name or address.

  • calwatch

    Even if they did it wouldn’t matter since they have employee passes (and their spouses and kids have dependent passes). For someone with a monthly pass the TAP system works fine, as long as they don’t try to ride an express line or the Silver Line.

  • Anonymous

    Lots of other difficulties are also described here, and have been requoted on la.indymedia.org article to  make TRANSPARENT what some of us innocents would not know if we did not make effort of researching, which is how I found here.
    Also if there is 1 reply to a comment there is no ‘reply’ left for another to that comment/or ?

    Sahrha wrote  she spoke to some big wig at MTA called Sutton ??…so someone has access to inform the Big Systemizers that they are hurting & confusing and frustrating “The Los Angeles Public ” ? 

    and That to get reimbursed does one have to again take time/ fare and travel to an  MTA office ? huh ?    Who reimburses for all that extra Work required to get fair fare for what was taken wrongly ?  That we are stuck interacting with stuoopid machines ‘who’ cant self-correct at all either ? huh ?  And we allow all this to just happen to many of us , obediently ? huh ?

    “He was
    reimbursed once officials ran the card number. But it isn’t fixed yet–…”                
    so how are human individuals reimbursed for what they have to do to correct MTA
    et al created problems ? huh again ?  the victims pay the price both ways
    2x at least ?

     

    and is the Bus Riders Union working on any of this ? Who has
    any say, our City Council member ? and Neighborhood Council Boards ?
    our flat no-longer-caring
    Mayor ?  who revealed he can do & say
    anything now and he is unconcerned about ethics or legalities, per his
    expression & tone now.

    What ELSE CAN
    WE DO besides complain and explain ‘what happened’ bu writing here …… or find another blog
    site that the govt-contractors don’t see, don’t care about and are not about to
    be criticized or reformed or fix-it! either ? 
    HELP !!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    see indymedia article with re-quotes from others included appropriately. To expose problems, ideas, and elicit more responses anyhow We do it.


    http://la.indymedia.org/news/2012/09/256173.php 

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