Discover LA by Metro:
Goodbye, Paper Tickets. It’s Time to TAP!
The Los Angeles Metro system uses a plastic card containing a computer chip — TAP (Transit Access Pass) Card — for all fares. The TAP Card is used for fares on the light rail/subway and buses.
Each person needs a TAP Card — no sharing. The only exception: two children under 5 years old may ride for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
To ride the LA Metro light rail/subway, you need to tap your TAP Card for each train you ride. One-way fares include free transfers in the same journey for up to two hours; no stopovers or doubling back are permitted.
TAP Cards can be loaded with single-ride fares, dollar amounts, or pass fares.
All Metro ticket vending machines dispense TAP Cards for $1.00 in addition to the fare or pass loaded on them at the time of purchase. Once you have a TAP Card, it can be reloaded at any Metro ticket machine.
The automated ticket machines are easy to use and give step-by-step instructions in several languages. The help button activates in-depth instructions.
For a better view of the steps, click on the photos to enlarge.
How to Buy Your TAP Card and Load Your Fare:
If you don’t have a TAP Card:
• To buy a new TAP Card, press the silver button on the machine for Option A — Purchase New TAP Card + Fare.
When you already have a TAP Card:
• To load dollar value onto your TAP Card, press button G.
• To check the balance on your TAP Card, press button H.
Select Your Fare:
Payment can be made using cash, credit cards, or debit cards. Ticket machines accept $20 and smaller bills and coins. The machines dispense $1 coins instead of bills for change, so you might end up with a lot of coins if you insert a $20 bill.
• Regular one-ride fares are $1.75.
• The senior or disabled fare is $.75 during peak hours and $.35 non-peak.
• A regular DayPass is $7 and is valid from the first tap until 3 a.m. the following morning. If you’re taking more than five trips in a day, the DayPass saves you money.
• A 7 DayPass is $25 and is the best bet if you’ll be doing 17 or more trips during a week.
• A 30 DayPass is $100.
The valid time period for a 7 DayPass or 30 DayPass begins on its first use. It doesn’t matter if it’s the beginning, middle, or end of the week or the month.
Load Dollar Value for Easy Riding:
Lump-sum dollar amounts can also be added to your TAP Card. When tapped on entry, the amount of a regular one-way fare will be deducted from your balance unless a valid pass is loaded on the card; a pass takes precedence over one-way fares. For example, if you have a cash balance on your TAP Card and you buy a DayPass, your cash balance will not be reduced during the day that you use the DayPass.
Discount TAP Cards Require Special Purchase:
Senior and disabled TAP Cards are not sold at the automated ticket machines. These cards, which allow loading of discounted passes, require an ID and must be obtained either from a Metro Customer Center or with a downloaded application form that is mailed in. Ticket machines recognize the status of these cards and allow the loading of discounted passes. Senior and disabled DayPasses are $2.50 and can be loaded only on these special TAP Cards. With this good value, it is worth the effort to get your special TAP Card if you qualify.
When lump-sum dollar amounts are loaded on these special TAP Cards, the discounted one-trip fare amount is automatically deducted at the first entry unless a valid pass is loaded.
Student discount TAP Cards are also available through Metro and some schools. See Metro’s Reduced Fares page for more information.
Tap and Go:
The TAP Card registers if it has been tapped at the entry gate. Tap your TAP Card for each train you ride. You’ll find the TAP validators on the turnstile or next to the train platform entry. If you’re changing from the Red/Purple Line to the Expo or Blue Line in the 7th/Metro Station, there are TAP validators near the stairs on the Expo/Blue Line level.
Metro monitoring personnel have machines that read these cards. If you don’t have a valid TAP Card fare or transfer, you’ll be socked with a hefty $250 fine.
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