Eyes on the “Street”: TapToGo Is Down

(UPDATE: From the comments section, Steve Hymon from The Source writes: We belatedly got a post up at 12:45 today on the blog. For anyone reading, passes can still be purchased at https://secure.taptogo.net. Note the S after the http.!)

Alert reader, and Streetsblog LA Editorial Board Member, Joel Epstein notices that the website TapToGo.net is down and has been “for several days.”

At this point, Metro has yet to publicly acknowledge the troubled transit card’s troubled website. However, with the end of the month coming tomorrow, it might be a good time to reload your card at a machine if your card isn’t automatically reloaded at the start of the month. If TapToGo isn’t back, the lines tomorrow and Friday could be rather long.

  • Erik Griswold

    Nothing can go wrong…can go wrong…can go wrong…

  • Ubrayj02

    Another reason to dump a million tons of hate on TAP and the Metro staff who make a living keeping it going. Bring back paper tickets you techno-narcissists.

  • Brian in Koreatown

    Is there anything Metro doesnt completely bungle?

  • None

    A public statement would be nice with an ETA for fixing. I’m just an occasional traveler with cash value on the card that ran out and now I’m scrambling for coins and dollar bills.

  • Steve Hymon

    Hi Damien;

    We belatedly got a post up at 12:45 today on the blog. For anyone reading, passes can still be purchased at https://secure.taptogo.net.

    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source

  • P.

    You luddite Ubrayj02.  While I know Metro has severely bungled this project it does represent a step forward. In no way do want to go back to the good old days. Back to the days where if I don’t have exact change I’m screwed.  Back to the days if I wasn’t using a day pass, I’d have to run to a ticket machine before making a transfer to get a new ticket, potentially missing a train.  Back to the days where if it was raining or I had too much in my pocket I would wreck the ticket and have to buy another.  Back to the days where tickets were easily lost.  Back to the days where I would have to keep multiple fare cards, one for each system which issued them.  Back to the days when it would take 15 minutes to load a bus at busy stop where passengers where trying unsuccessfully to shove their change and wrinkled bills into fare boxes.  Back to the days where the areas around transit centers and rail stations were littered with lost, forgotten and useless paper tickets.

    Now can load passes or any amount of cash on my TAP card and when I reach a  bus fare box, station pylon or gate, all I have to do to pay my fare is to tap. I Don’t even have to take it out of my wallet.  It’s that simple.  It works on transit options I use most, Metro, DASH and Culver CityBus.  I actively avoid Big Blue Bus since they don’t have the TAP fare boxes yet.

    There is a lot left for Metro to do for TAP to be anywhere near user friendly, especially for the casual user, but the rumblings from Metro in the last few months indicates they may be finally ready to head in that direction.

    Ubrayj02, get off your high horse and ride a bike. This is progress that should happen.

  • Ubrayj02

     Yes, truly a luddite where:

    “If you don’t have exact change” the ticket vending machine at the train station spits out change. Oh, the bus! Oh what a travesty!

    Have you ever bought multiple tickets with the TAP program? Have you ever seen the clusterfuck at a train station with tourists trying to buy a family’s worth of train fares and get taxed an extra $4 to $6 to buy a TAP card?

    Hey, you know what else is cool? Now Metro can use an RFID chip to micro-track your movements. Awesome! I hope I don’t go to an unpopular political rallies in the near future.

    TAP as an option for high frequency users? Hey, awesome. TAP as the way, the truth, and the light for *al*l users of Metro? Fuck off and die. Seriously. You want me to buy you a gun and some ammo?

    I use the Metro on regular basis now and I TAP is a piece of shit. I spend my days and night hooked up to two cell phones, multiple computers, and in constant contact with people in person and by phone. Fuck’n a I am a luddite.

    TAP is a total piece of crap, money losing, fiasco. Anyone associated with it should quit their jobs and be forced to have TAP cards thrown at them at Union Station next to the Ben and Jerrys kiosk for a month.

  • P.

    “”If you don’t have exact change” the ticket vending machine at the train station spits out change.”
    If you are fortunate enough to be one of the very small percentage of folks in LA County who live near enough to Metro Rail to make use of a TVM.  Otherwise you are SOL.

    “Have you ever bought multiple tickets with the TAP program?”You don’t have to buy a “ticket” with TAP you just have to put enough cash on the card to cover the fares. Tapping is the ticket.

    “and get taxed an extra $4 to $6 to buy a TAP card?”it is incentive to reuse the TAP Card, so that Stations, Transit Centers, etc aren’t littered with perfectly reusable TAP cards.  Stop the waste, Save the Planet.  It’s like riding a bike instead of driving a car. 

    “Now Metro can use an RFID chip to micro-track your movements.”
    They take that info on how their services are being used so they can adjust to the needs of their users.  I think that may have been why they recently increased the frequency of the Weekend trains on the Gold Line because they had hard data showing it would be effective and that is good for everyone.   If you don’t want to be tracked don’t register the card. they won’t know who you are. Oh and BTW if you don’t want to be micro-tracked,  don’t use cell phones, credit cards, google, or the internet in general,  They micro-track you too.

    I think it would be more constructive to push Metro to fix this issues for Casual Users like making transfers to Munis seamless. Having Limits on the amount which can be taken off any TAP card in a day, week, or month.  In essence you would never have to buy a pass since the card would know when you reached the Fare for the Pass.  Plus they really have to fix that god awful website which started this discussion in the first place

  • Ubrayj02

     Oy, okay. I needed to cool down. If the editors of this site want to delete my earlier comment – feel free. If not, I am cool with that too.

    Dear “P.”,

    Perhaps I am not connected to technology enough to understand how great the TAP system is. The two smart phones I am tethered to, multiple computers I use daily, the web-sites I run, the social media work I do all day and night has perhaps not kept pace with what is required to stay up to date with how world-shatteringly great TAP is.

    From where I stand, in “Luddite” land, TAP is a force-fed “solution” that (1) creates as many, or bigger, problems than it solves and (2) has been a money losing fiasco from the start.

    TAP should be an OPTION for high frequency transit users. Paper tickets simply work more elegantly for certain situations: new riders, large (i.e. more than three) groups buying multiple tickets at once, single use transit users, and those who prefer not to have every pee break and chocolate bar buy of their day potentially tracked with an RFID chip.

    Technology is not a fix in and of itself, and TAP is technology that doesn’t even function out of the box. We need to eliminate fare gates and eliminate TAP. We can keep a spare set or two aside for folks like you that like to worship at the alter of poorly designed and implemented public works projects that have helped pay for exurban ranch style homes for all the nice MA and BS and PE degree holders employed by the TAP program. They can have a little pinky swearing contest down at the unemployment office not to rat on each other when asked if they’ve ever worked on the TAP program when they’re looking for new work. They will be ashamed of the roll they played in this ludicrous waste of millions of transit users man-hours to deal with their burdensome system.

  • Anonymous

    “…it might be a good time to reload your card at a machine…”

    Alas, I went a different route. After more than a year and a half of the rhymes-with-CRAP organization holding hostage the thirteen bucks I had leftover from the perfectly good card they “expired” in May 2011 — on top of charging me $2 for a new card they couldn’t add the aforementioned money to — I methodically cut my TAP card up into very tiny little pieces, then packed them around a package of firecrackers and blew them up. Any remaining pieces scattered about the blast radius were gathered into a little pire and burned into oblivion, after which I loaded up on a couple bags of tokens. Those will probably last me until Metro sees fit to phase those out. Hopefully by that time it will have learned to differentiate its ass from its elbow in regards to TAP and maybejustmaybe I’ll find a way to let go of that $13 and lose the seething disgust I feel toward pretty much anything bearing the company’s logo.

  • calwatch

    WMATA can handle automatic transfers, and Clipper can do fare capping and distance based fares. TAP does neither. No automatic transfers (although it has been discussed at Bus Operations Subcommittee for, I don’t know, the last FIVE YEARS), no fare capping (or retroactive credit at the end of the service day, which would be equivalent), and no implementation of distance based fares proposed (although to implement them now would be a Title VI compliance nightmare).

  • Ubrayj02

     P. – you are an apologist, of the worst sort, for an abusive culture within Metro exemplified by the TAP program.

  • Ubrayj02

     P. – you have no friends, so you obviously have never taken a group of people on the trains or buses and had to miss said train because the machine won’t let one person buy a batch of metro passes or “fares” in one go but instead forces that person to go through the process of paying an extra dollar for a TAP card, “loading a fare” onto that card, waiting for it to come out, etc.

    TAP broke things that people at Metro didn’t even know about.

    I used to use Metro to take groups of people (20 or more) on Sunday morning tours of dim sum restaurants in the SGV – introducing people who never used the Metro system to its wonders. The TAP system broke that.

    That is just one example of how fucked the TAP system is. For losers who think that anything with a computer between them and the agency they love is intrinsically “better” I can see how TAP might seem like a great idea. For people that use Metro, TAP is yet another insult to add to the long list of shitty things Metro does on a daily basis to tell its customers that we are pieces of crap that are lucky enough to have what Metro’s suburbanite happy motoring bureaucrats decide is good for us.

  • Matt

    Bringing back paper tickets is not the way to go.  Terrible idea.  TAP may have its issues, but it is light years ahead of having to go through the hassle of getting a paper ticket every time you board. 

  • Ubrayj02

    The “hassle” of getting a paper ticket? WTF planet is it a hastle to buy a paper ticket on? TAP is a piece of shit that should be an OPTION not a mandatory method of lawfully boarding public transportation.

    During the Rose Parade, flustered tourists and first-time (no doubt last-time as well judging by what they thought of the ticket machines) users were given … paper vouchers by Metro staff.

    Family of 12 riding to Pasadena for the day … let’s see, hold on honey, I want to buy a ticket to Pasadena. Hmm … load a fare? What? Wait! The train is coming. Hmm … well I want to buy 12 tickets … um, well, okay now I have this card now well …

    And so on and so forth.

    Senior discounts with a TAP? Student discounts with a TAP?

    TAP is awesome for the lone, high frequency, user of transit (maybe) but it is a failure for several other important reasons and is being used an excuse for the depredations by an over zealous and marginally competent policing of the transit system.

    It has been show in Metro’s studies that the system costs more than it ever could “save” in fare evasion and it further obscures the transaction of “buy fare, board vessel” that transportation systems rely on. By card at one machine, slap card on pole, look for green light, then board.

    How do sheriffs know when you’ve paid? They have nothing to check and a handheld fare checker rolled out system wide is very expensive.

    TAP as an option is great, TAP being mandatory is a stupid, stupid, idea and one that we as a people should be ashamed of.

  • Dennis Hindman

    I had a talk with a man that services the Orange Line ticket machines a couple of years ago while we rode on one of its buses. He said that each ticket machine has a list price of $100,000 and that part of the purchase agreement is that his company will service them for free for ten years (including suppling the tickets). Each paper ticket costs about four cents and a ticket with a RFID chip costs about forty-five cents a ticket, if I remember correctly.

    A recently was helping a vistor from another city use the Universal subway station ticket machine and I informed her that the price of a TAP card was $2. She said that she didn’t mind that price and that she had recently been to a city in Canada where it was $20 for the card (refundable when finished using).

  • From the comments, it seems that for some people TAP cards work well.  It also seems that in some situations, paper tickets are far better.  Both systems should be available.

  • Fred Garvin

    Sorry I’m late to the discussion but well put. Also infuriating when you have a perfectly good “TAP” card sitting on your desk at home and are forced to buy another one.

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