Deal Among LA County’s 26 Transportation Agencies Allows for Seamless Riding System with Metro’s TAP Cards

MetroTAPLong Beach Metro riders will be able to transfer to a bus or train from any transit provider in the County of Los Angeles now that all 26 regional transportation agencies in the county have joined Metro’s TAP system, Metro officials announced Wednesday.

The TAP fare collection system took many years of negotiations among cities and agencies who have unique needs, according to a press release from Metro.

The partnership brings 3,800 buses together in a seamless manner by allowing riders to transfer between Metro trains and buses and other municipal-operated buses, the release stated.

According to Metro CEO Phillip Washington, TAP is the largest smart-card system in North America, with more than 23 million transactions and $14.5 million in passes sold every month.

The system features a reloadable plastic card—using a chip instead of a magnetic strip—that has a 10-year life expectancy, Metro officials said.

“The milestone is significant because it shows how far we have come to create a seamless regional transportation system,” said Metro Board Chair and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at a news event Wednesday. “You can now use your TAP card to get all the way from Lancaster to Long Beach. No more fumbling in your pockets or purse for change.”

The TAP card can also be replaced if lost or stolen—along with all remaining cash value or pass—making it safer than cash, said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Lakewood Councilwoman and Metro boardmember.

“TAP may be new to some people, but we think that once they’ve used it, they will see that TAP is a great advantage over paying fares by cash,” Dupont-Walker said.

Revenue from the TAP system will be disbursed to each transit agency accordingly, the release stated.

The normally blue TAP cards have gone through various designs, including one to commemorate the Union Station’s 75th anniversary and the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

TAP cards are available at Metro customer centers, at about 400 vendor locations in the county, at any Metro Rail or Orange Line station or online at

Above, left: photo by Stephanie Rivera. 

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.