Maybe I am being unfair (I probably am), but the LA MTA does various and sundry things that are so counterproductive it makes me crazy sometimes. So on the one hand, we are stridently building building building rail every second of every minute of every day so we can say “LOOOOK! We have trains! We are a great big grown-up world city metro region like New York! WE are!! REALLY REALLY REALLY are!!” and yet they can’t seem to figure out how to implement a smartcard fare system. Is it just me, or do systems around the galaxy manage to do this without all the drama and hair-pulling that the MTA has both introduced and suffered through? I know they have a bigger problem than systems in other places with fewer buses on the road, but it’s not like they haven’t thrown money at this issue.
Am I just thinking this is an LA problem just because I’m seeing it up close? Was I hallucinating when I had one card that allowed me to go from the bus to the train to the bus and the tube and back in London? Do other regions have these problems in implementation?
My TAP card works great, but mine is handled through a yearly pass paid for via direct deposit. Andy has gotten to the point where he won’t even try to renew his on the bus–it’s too much hassle–and will only use it if he can renew it on the train. Otherwise, he goes with the cash fare.
Here are a collection of stories on the TAP card, including a sad story about Metro operators who have been accused of taking money:
The Bus Bench: One of three Metro TAP card “embezzlement” cases dropped
The Bus Bench: Tired of TAP Crap? Here is Metro’s daydream from 2007.
The Bus Bench: Punch on Duty: New TAP Card Policy Places Onus on Customer
The Bus Bench: Metro Prepares to Silently Concede Busload of TAP Card Problems