MTA Tap Card Implementation Problems

This story on the KPMG audit of LA MTA’s TAP card implantation is so not good news. It’s a mite old, but it’s worth talking about as it is a major issue for transit operations. The story from the audit: the program cost much more than the MTA wanted, other agencies have resisted its usage, and there is no close end in sight.

It’s interesting to me that no passenger complaints made their way into the article. My TAP card works just fine–mine is an annual pass. Andy, however, tries to load day passes onto his when getting on the bus, and in general that process is confusing, time-consuming and more than once hasn’t worked–leaving him having paid $5 on one bus with no record that allows him to use the pass on other systems because the process didn’t “take” on the bus. That’s a problem.

The reason why the MTA needs this to work is that payment vehicle matters immensely in transit operations. First off, it is meant to to allow passengers to dispense with scrambling for change, etc. In addition, TAP cards are intended to lower boarding times in order to keep buses running on a schedule. That can’t happen with difficulties loading the passes during boarding.