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Metro all-access transit passes to go paperless

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, August 20, 2012, at 10:04AM
Boarding the Metro Red Line at 7th / Metro Station Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

The EZ transit pass will now be loaded onto the electronic TAP card.

The Metro EZ transit pass, which gives riders monthly access to 25 different public transportation systems throughout the county, is about to go electronic -- as the paper passes are poised to transfer onto a TAP card.

Starting Sept 1., Metro's blog The Source reports that the EZ pass will be loaded onto the blue, smart-chip electronic TAP card. Metro says this will make it easier for customers to replace their passes if they are lost or stolen and also facilitate the renewal of the passes each month.

For a limited time as this new program rolls out, riders will get a free TAP card when they buy an $84 EZ pass, which costs $35 for seniors, disabled individuals or people with Medicare.

The EZ passes require a sticker on the TAP card that indicates the month, year and zone of the rider, so the passes can not be purchased at a ticket machine. They can be bought at a Metro Customer Center or one of the hundreds of other participating vendors including Nix Check Cashing and select Ralph’s markets. The EZ pass can also be bought online and the sticker will be mailed to you.

The TAP smart card has been a work-in-progress for Metro as they've attempted to streamline L.A. County's transit system and convert multiple lines to TAP card usage. At the end of last year, Metro began locking turnstiles at select stations -- including Downtown's 7th Street hub-- to try and pinpoint the number of riders not using the electronic card.

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KPCC in February that Metro has lost millions of dollars in unpaid fares because riders were able to easily board trains without a ticket.

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