Locking Turnstile Tests Headed to 7th / Metro Subway Station
Passengers travel through turnstiles at the 7th / Metro subway stations.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Turnstile gates installed inside the 7th / Metro subway station in 2009 will likely be locked for the first time in upcoming weeks as Metro continues to test its conversion to the TAP smart card.
The locking turnstile tests are intended to help the agency gauge how many riders are still using fares that are incompatible with the TAP system.
The transit agency recently conducted locking tests at four low-traffic stations, but a motion that goes to the Metro board on Thursday asks that six additional stations, including 7th / Metro and the North Hollywood station, be added to the process. It also asks that the new round of tests include peak-hour closures.
Union Station was originally on the list, but a revised version of the motion (PDF) by board members Zev Yaroslavsky, Pam O'Connor, Diane DuBois and Antonio Villaraigosa omits the key station. That's likely because Union Station sees a significant number of transfers by Metrolink riders, and Metro has not yet found a way to integrate TAP support with the commuter rail line's paper tickets.
Ironically, Union Station is the only stop on the subway system where a rider can purchase a TAP card from Metro. Ticket vending machines on the route still dispense paper tickets, and Metro doesn't plan to convert them to dispensing TAP-compatible fares until sometime in 2012.
[Update: As pointed out in the comments, there are a few machines throughout the rail network where you can buy TAP cards.]