Getting a TAP card

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BCL

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Finally found a Metro station to buy them. Found out that stored value can only be added in preset amounts or in $1 increments. Also experienced one “interesting” person on the bus to LA. Other than that it was fine.
 

BCL

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I guess an explanation is in order for my previous comment. There was someone who apparently saw someone outside the bus and got some response (might have been coffee sprayed against the window). The person inside the bus wouldn't stop talking about it to total strangers that it was her sister and something about being willing to stab her or something to that effect. When she finally got off that bus, quite a few people were relieved. This was the 460 coming from Anaheim to downtown LA. Considerably cheaper than taking Amtrak but yeah that was a welcome to LA moment.

Other than that, we got the usual on all sorts of Metro service. Most people on Metro rail and bus lines just minding their own business. Some tourists. Occasional homeless and/or mentally ill. The usual.

The $1 each stored value was only used for Angels Flight, which is 50 cents each. We thought that maybe it could come in handy if LA DOT's DASH buses (35 cent TAP fare) were convenient, although the one I was thinking of taking we missed a convenient one and just walked much of the way.

I did kind of mess up on the Metro Rail D (purple) line. I didn't realize that it was the end of the line and that the trains just turned around. All I saw was the sign that said "To Union Station" on one platform and didn't notice that the sign was the same on the other platform. That lost us about 15 minutes.

And it was the first time I recall ever being in Los Angeles Union Station. Really nice building. I did have enough time to look around for where the TAP vending machines were. We had arrived on the D line so we saw the ones in the subway station. Then at Union Station East they had one machine. I saw photos but wasn't sure if it was a TAP or Metrolink machine for rail tickets. And then the L (gold) line platform had four - two on each side of the corridor to the platforms. I think I might have actually had enough time (10 minutes) when my train arrived on Saturday, but it worked out even though our first bus driver didn't have any more TAP cards.

I registered both of our TAP cards and it isn't giving an option of a virtual one. Makes sense since it's an iPhone 7. However, when I look to maybe add value to the cards, they're only for passes, specific amounts, or $1 increments. Also - there's clearly missing transactions in my history, although it's been less than a day. We used the cards at the same time, and the transactions don't match up.
 

BCL

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I would think the best bet would be at the machines at entrance to the L (Gold) Line at tracks 1/2.

The TVMs for the B/D Lines are on the underground mezzanine.

However, I do think they sell the cards onboard most buses.

I mentioned various things in other posts. However, to summarize, this is what I noticed when I went to Union Station to have a look for an LAX-SBA ride.

1) The closest TAP vending machine to any Amtrak tracks (from 10-14) would probably be a single machine in the Union Station East lobby.

2) There are four TAP vending machines at the entrance to the Metro L (gold) line platform (1-2) on the west end of the tracks.

3) There are multiple TAP vending machines underground at the Red/Purple line Metro station.

4) TAP cards can run out on buses. Our driver let us on, but I don't know if other drivers will allow that without paying.
 

BCL

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So we're making another trip but we have the TAP cards. But I paid for the passes and a little bit more stored value online. Not sure how long it's going to take, but it says "pending", which sounds like it will either take more time or I need to use my card to load it. Maybe at one of the vending machines? I'm pretty sure it's a virtual value that their equipment has to load onto my card.

Addendum: It also says that one has 30 days to use the card (where the stored value or passes get loaded) or else one needs to call in to reinstate whatever was purchased online. But it could probably be at any of their equipment including buses, fare gates, or vending machines.
 
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BCL

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So I'm kind of worried that my online purchases to my registered TAP cards won't transfer as soon as I tag them on the bus. I've done a little bit of research, and there are claims that checking the balance at one of the TAP vending machines is the most reliable way to transfer passes and stored value. It didn't work the last time we were waiting at Union Station, but I'm thinking maybe if there is that normal 25 minute stop we can go out and then make sure that they transfer before getting back on the train.
 

BCL

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So I'm kind of worried that my online purchases to my registered TAP cards won't transfer as soon as I tag them on the bus. I've done a little bit of research, and there are claims that checking the balance at one of the TAP vending machines is the most reliable way to transfer passes and stored value. It didn't work the last time we were waiting at Union Station, but I'm thinking maybe if there is that normal 25 minute stop we can go out and then make sure that they transfer before getting back on the train.

I was able to do it at the single TAP vending machine in the East concourse. It said on screen that it loaded a pass and stored value, and they show up when I checked the balance on the machine. But when I checked on the TAP app for these two registered cards, I see the added stored value, but no passes listed. The card history does show that the passes were loaded.

I’m thinking the app has some bugs.
 

BCL

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So I'm making another trip but I'm not passing through Union Station (it's going to be San Joaquins + a thruway bus) before I board LA Metro. I contacted the TAP/Metro service center and was told that if I buy a pass online (I have my card registered) it should work as long as I give it at least an hour. I suppose the bus fare machines all communicate regularly with the server to update new passes and stored value. Last time I was so freaked out about it that I got off at Union Station to make sure that the passes were added to our cards by tagging it at a TAP vending machine.

I also have my kid's card with a little bit of stored value on it. Since we don't live in the area my kid isn't eligible for one of those discount/free TAP cards that have to go through a school. I was told it's fine for me (or I suppose any adult) to use it since there's nothing any different about it than what most people would use.
 

BCL

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So I'm making another trip but I'm not passing through Union Station (it's going to be San Joaquins + a thruway bus) before I board LA Metro. I contacted the TAP/Metro service center and was told that if I buy a pass online (I have my card registered) it should work as long as I give it at least an hour. I suppose the bus fare machines all communicate regularly with the server to update new passes and stored value. Last time I was so freaked out about it that I got off at Union Station to make sure that the passes were added to our cards by tagging it at a TAP vending machine.

I also have my kid's card with a little bit of stored value on it. Since we don't live in the area my kid isn't eligible for one of those discount/free TAP cards that have to go through a school. I was told it's fine for me (or I suppose any adult) to use it since there's nothing any different about it than what most people would use.

Finally used it, but something was off and it doesn’t look like the day pass was added to my card. This is what TAP customer service recommended. Looks like it pulled the fare from the stored value, which wasn’t enough (negative value?), but the driver let me on anyways. I need to figure out what the deal is here. Maybe call customer service and see if they might be able to put the stored value back once I can find a TAP vending machine to load the day pass. Or maybe it will sort itself out?

I’ve been on this line a couple of times and none of the transactions ever shows up in my history. I’m questioning whether or not actually connect to the TAP server.
 

BCL

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Rode again and I’m not what happened, but there’s a Metro employee at the front of the bus (not the driver) and he said that he saw the fare box load a day pass. I think it might have also refunded any previously expended stored value.
 

BCL

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Rode again and I’m not what happened, but there’s a Metro employee at the front of the bus (not the driver) and he said that he saw the fare box load a day pass. I think it might have also refunded any previously expended stored value.

The transaction history shows that the day pass was loaded and that the stored value is what I started off with. Doesn’t show any intermediate stuff.
 

BCL

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OK - just kind of wondering how this is all supposed to work if I return to LA.

As far as I can tell, what happened with me was that the first bus I was on didn't have the information that I had purchased a day pass, and then tried to take out a $1.75 fare from my $1.50 stored value and then probably wanted 25 cents back. But that didn't make sense because the express bus fare is supposed to be $2.50. Then I rode another express bus, only it properly loaded the day pass that I purchased online, then returned the stored value back to my card.

I'm not sure what happens if someone does it a different way, such as use stored value first, but then buy a day pass later that's activated the same day. I would think that it could then refund any stored value that was debited back to the TAP card.

When I called TAP customer service, I was told the best way is to buy the day pass online for my registered card. I thought that one was supposed to be able to add value or add a day pass on a bus by informing a driver.
 
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