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More Local Agencies Dealing with TAP, But Metrolink Remains Elusive and a Surfliner Update

Here are updates on two issues I have been paying close attention to: TAP and the LOSSAN takeover of the Surfliner.

With no fanfare several of the Los Angeles County municipal bus operators (including Foothill and Santa Monica Big Blue Bus) as of November 1st are providing paper TAP cards when patrons purchase transfers to continue their trip via Metro Rail. This resolves one of the outstanding issues that was blocking the locking of the gates at the Red/Purple Line stations.

Steve Hymon at The Source reports at last week's Metro Board Executive Management Committee meeting the committee members gave a chilly reception to option 2 which would involve discontinuing Metrolink fare media including free transfers to Metro bus and rail service. I imagine the full Board when it meets next month will give a similar thumbs down to that idea. Which leaves the Metrolink ticket machine conversion option the only viable one on the table.

My reading of the minutes of the Oct. 12th Metrolink Board meeting (pp. 13-15 of the Nov. 16th agenda packet) is that they are rather unhappy at the position Metro's handling of TAP and the gating has put them in. Even the Metro representative sounds a tad defensive and uncomfortable.

At least after I previously lamented the lack of details about how much having selected Metrolink ticket machines converted to issue TAP cards would cost Metrolink the Nov. 16th Metrolink Board agenda (which can be accessed by the link in the preceding paragraph) has two items, #7 & #8, that provide those details.

Forgive me but WOW!!! We are talking MILLIONS, kids. Be still my heart!

And for all that whether they can develop, test and implement a viable TAP enabled limited use ticket that is TAP compatible with the Metro Rail gates and capable of being distributed through the Metrolink ticket vending machine (TVM) system is at best iffy.

Meanwhile you'll recall theLos Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN) is in the midst of having the Boards of its member agencies approve an amended joint power authority agreement and bylaws to facilitate their taking over managing the Pacific Surfliner intercity rail service. And how is that going?

The agenda for yesterday's meeting of the LOSSAN Board includes on page 14 a status report in the form of a table. About half the parties won't even be taking up the issue until January 2013, and I expect this process will likely move forward rather slowly given its complexity and the number of entities involved.

Consider the forgoing interesting tidbits to contemplate after the holiday feast when you plop down to give the pumpkin pie a chance to digest. Happy Thanksgiving!

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