Metro to Consider Distributing Pre-Loaded TAP Cards to the Homeless, Domestic Violence Victims • Long Beach Post

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is looking at providing pre-loaded TAP cards to individuals experiencing homelessness or domestic violence victims throughout the county.

“It is next to impossible to put your life back together if you don’t have basic access to transportation,” stated County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who sits on Metro’s board. “For a homeless person without a car or money for the bus, getting to a doctor’s appointment or a job interview can be an insurmountable hurdle. For victims of domestic violence, a lack of transportation poses a major challenge to escaping a dangerous relationship.”

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Hahn introduced the idea during Metro’s first regularly scheduled board meeting of the year Thursday morning. It was added to a motion calling for an aggressive campaign to promote the discount Metro fares program known as LIFE. Under that program, students, low-income riders and senior citizens can have access to discounted ride fares.

With LIFE, however, individuals would need to fill out paperwork in order to qualify. According to Hahn’s office, a plan to readily offer pre-loaded TAP cards with a certain amount of money—no questions asked—quickens what otherwise would have been a time-consuming bureaucratic process and one that may harm domestic violence victims who don’t want their abusive partners to know.

“Making sure victims of domestic violence have safe transportation is essential, which is why I was pleased to support Supervisor Hahn’s motion to provide a free TAP Card to victims yesterday,” Mayor Robert Garcia, who is a Metro board member, told the Post. “I hope the program moves ahead county wide.”

The Metro board approved Thursday’s motion unanimously. Board members not in attendance to vote on the item were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin and Duarte City Councilmember John Fasana.

While Metro staff were directed to begin outreach efforts with local community colleges, homeless service providers, the county’s Department of Disability and Aging and the Department of Family Services to increase awareness of LIFE, they will need to come back at a later date to present a plan on the feasibility of providing pre-loaded TAP cards countywide.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story stated Mayor Robert Garcia was not present for the vote, based on Metro information. Garcia in fact participated in the board meeting.

Stephanie Rivera covers immigration and the north, west and central parts of Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.

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