Do You Have Any Metro/LACMTA Tokens? They Still Work!

Recently the Employee Transportation Coordinator at my workplace asked me how does one pay to ride Metro Rail using tokens. After a few days I acquired and passed along a take one brochure (of the type you see on rail and bus vehicles) describing the procedure. In the interim the ETC had also sent a query to Metro Customer Relations which quickly provided the information. All this effort was necessary because at that time the Metro website lacked the information.

If you have this token, it's worth more than a ride. Hang onto it. Photo:## Souvenirs##

After making some inquiries and explaining this shortcoming of the Metro website I had uncovered a page was added to it titled Pay your Metro Rail fare using tokens.

This is no small matter, as Metro distributes and collects about 900,000 tokens per month and the token is the foundation of the Immediate Needs Transportation Program which aids residents with limited resources.

My thanks to Metro staff Anna Chen and Marc Littman for information on how many tokens are in circulation and their assistance in bringing this situation to the attention to the folks who maintain Metro’s website.

  • Lamar

    Can you ride Metro Rail with a Metro bus token?  If so, how?

  • Erik Griswold


    The persons involved in the conversion to T.A.P. and the Turnstile Fetish (no longer is it just a debacle) did not see this issue as warrenting attention until it was pointed out to them by individuals who actually use LA Metro to get around.

    Paying with a token was never an issue when the TVMs issued paper tickets, you just proceeded to the point in the transaction where you were to pay your $1.50 and tossed one in; voila a ticket printed.

    Now, this is a “Pass”?  So what happens to my “Passes” on my T.A.P. card when it expires?

  • Erik Griswold

    More importantly, how many changes in coding and votes of the board did this modification take, and how much did Cubic make off of it?

  • Kjphotog

    Your comment about the MTA website – I agree, simple stuff isn’t easily found, if at all. Picture this, you’d like to take the Blueline to Long Beach Thanksgiving day & you’d like to know what sort of schedule its running on, or not. Nope, it wasn’t frickin’ available! But there was an announcement on the radio that it would be running on a Sunday schedule. 

  • calwatch

    This is the same ham handed way that senior fares are added on regular TAP cards. When gate locking commences and the fare inspectors are deployed elsewhere on the system, that is a giant loophole that you can drive a Mack truck through.

  • Andres D.

    Guys, it’s really not that hard to pay w/a token…  When it asks you to insert your $ for a “One-Way Rail Ride” all you do is insert your token instead of your $1.50… Oh big deal if now it’s under “passes” and not “stored value”… stop whining!

  • “stop whining!”

    Really? First time users can find the ticket machines in the train stations intimidating. Friday I had to explain to some tourists at Union Station who wanted to ride the Red Line the process of obtaining a TAP card from a machine and loading a day pass on it. I think that is a big deal and I see no harm in making information available.

    And you miss my main point — why make the information available in printed form but not online? That just made no sense.

  • Erik Griswold

    Until the brochure magically appeared, I couldn’t figure it out. A token is supposed to be a “one-piece/coin” form of payment for the value of a ride which is currently $1.50; how does it suddenly become a “pass”?

  • Joemonata900

    What is an idiot?

  • Joemontana900

    Hi Lamar,
    I have same question, and here the best answer from Metro:
    1) Yes. TAP cards have an expiration date which is two-three years. Each time you use your TAP card, an expiration date will be displayed. Additionally, you check your card’s expiration date by contact the Regional TAP center at
    2) As your TAP card gets close to its expiration date, certain fares will not be loaded to your card. You can only load passes which match the number of days left until expiration. I recommend purchase of a new TAP card 30 days before expiration.
    3) Tokens can only be used to purchase 1-Ride fares on Metro Rail. Token cannot be combined to purchase other passes.
    4) Yes. You can load your TAP card with Stored Value. Each time the card is used, the system will deduct the appropriate fare.
    5) Tokens can be used at any Metro Rail Station to load a 1-Ride fare. Additionally, you can load up to eight 1-Ride fares using tokens on your card.
        If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Richard Saldivar
    Metro Customer Relations

  • Darlene Cicciarelli

    It’s 2016 do the metro tokens from 2010 still work on the bus


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