MTA's $46M system of locking turnstiles sits unused, waiting for fa...

Full story: LA Daily News

MTA officials now fear they wasted their money and may never be able to lock the gates as planned.
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1 - 20 of 81 Comments Last updated Aug 29, 2010
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Joseph Kline

Santa Monica, CA

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#1
Aug 21, 2010
 
Another tremendously wasteful and poorly planned government agency idea? What a shocker!(sarcarsm)
Do you Question Me

Mission Hills, CA

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#2
Aug 21, 2010
 
Oooops.
Jeff

Los Angeles, CA

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#3
Aug 21, 2010
 
At least one hack need to go to prison for this sort of criminal incompetence.
Joe

Wilmington, CA

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#4
Aug 21, 2010
 
First thing is to get Sheriff and fare inspectors from standing around 7th & Metro talking to each other. They should be checking tickets and located at each station.
Kevin

Canoga Park, CA

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#5
Aug 21, 2010
 
I like the TAP system. I don't know any of those people they mentioned in the article but everybody i know who uses Metro uses the TAP cards and likes it. Everybody thinks it's a good program. It makes Metro that much easier to use.
Shiela Jennings

Canoga Park, CA

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#6
Aug 21, 2010
 
Yes, TAP is great. I have not noticed the problems mentioned. I finally feel like LA has a sophisticated transit system. People who criticize obviously have never gone Metro.
peter h

United States

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#7
Aug 21, 2010
 
well somebody's laughing thier way to the bank with this deal!!! way to go!!!
dick

North Hollywood, CA

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#8
Aug 21, 2010
 
Well Duh! Its not about stopping that 5% of non-fare payers it is and always has been about giving sweetheart deals to the 'contractors and cousultants' that these administrators hire. Who knows if there are kickbacks or maybe just a cushie job outside of the MTA, OCTA or all the other quasi-public agencies. These contracts are overpriced and like this one or the Route 91 Toll Lanes, sometimes useless to the public but the contractors and consultants walk away with the big bucks anyway. Public employees should do the work of the public and private employees should do the work of private companies. Too much overcosts and failures with this privatization fad. Just wait until they convert the HOV lanes to Lexus lanes for the rich and watch the cost overruns on the Route 22/405 HOV direct connector project by OCTA. More public funds channeled to inefficient private contractors and consultants just like the Route 22 widening cost and time overruns. Ca is becoming like DC.
As Expected

Anaheim, CA

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#9
Aug 21, 2010
 
So we know another reason why the Metro fares went up, it was to also compensate for this loss/dumb ass move…Lets give a hand to the dumb asses who run this county/city…first they said it was a tax revenue problem,…well what did they expect when 3.9 million people in Los Angeles are not paying taxes? Guess who those 3.9 million people are? you guessed it, Viaretardo’s friends…the one he kisses ass to to get voted back in office, in return he keeps LA as a sanctuary… The second, they rush this system and not do their homework, MTA, let alone Los Angeles needs to stop trying to be like NY…If you’re going to do something do it right… then they needed more new Blue Line trains etc….so they raised the prices, and I havnt seen not one new Blue Line train (this is when they raised the day pass from 5.00 to 6.00)

“First thing is to get Sheriff and fare inspectors from standing around 7th & Metro talking to each other. They should be checking tickets and located at each station.”

My thing is this, if I were running this city, I would NOT be having sheriff’s who im paying 70k+ a year to check tickets…this is a waste of resources, they need to be doing something more along their line of work…this is why the fare inspectors exist in the first place….to check tickets, I get pissed off every time I see sheriff checking tickets, it’s a waste of tax money. They need to bring down the fare prices, and stop trying to cover their stupidity with our cash….154 million loss??? That’s crazy…but of course they pass it on to the riders and claim “It’s still cheaper than paying for gas!”…which is one of their top four reasons for raising fares….it wont be long before day passes are $8.00 and $10.00 1 year and a half later…
Fed Up

Reseda, CA

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#10
Aug 21, 2010
 
Can't anyone in government do anything right without wasting tax payer money? What good is a locking system when it looks like anyone with any agility could jump the turnstiles, crawl over them or wiggle underneath?
abishag

United States

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#11
Aug 21, 2010
 
Part of the problem is that it's nearly impossible for the casual to moderate user to get a tap card conveniently. I carpool most of the time, but there are a couple of days a month that I use public transit. I don't ever need a weekly or monthly pass - I only need a day pass. I can get a "day pass" on a paper ticket at a metro station if the first leg of my trip is on the subway - but god forbid the first leg is on the bus. They do no distribute paper day passes anymore. Instead they will "refill" a tap card. Unlike everyone else in the world who has locking turnstiles, you can't buy a tap card in a station or at vending machines or in every bodega on every corner of the city. Instead, you have to go to a certain grocery store during certain hours or maybe some scummy liquor store. And you can't get a tap card filled with say $20 or so and just use it as needed.

I have lived here car-free for 8 years and thanks in great deal to the incompetence of the MTA, will be one more a-hole on the road next year, when I buy a car just so I can get around without worrying about whether I have enough nickels, dimes, quarters and singles to run errands on my days off.
Brandon

Canoga Park, CA

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#12
Aug 21, 2010
 
UCLA uses the TAP card and its the best thing going. The turnstiles bring order to chaos. TAP has made huge improvements over the last few months. there is no better smart card system out there. The reporter seems to be way off base. I wonder if she uses the Metro? Metro needs to invest more in technology and build more rail lines. Transit in LA rocks. Everyone needs to get out of their cars and onto Metro.
Stephanie

Canoga Park, CA

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#13
Aug 21, 2010
 
When will Long Beach be on TAP? I've love the card. Wish more bus operators would get with the times and join the TAP program. It just makes sense fro everyone to get on board.
Unbelievable

North Hollywood, CA

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#15
Aug 22, 2010
 
Why on earth do they not study the best practices in other countries before deciding on the system to implement? LA is not the first city to have to integrate bus and rail lines ticketing. The TAP is not able to process single trips, ie, to deduct the fare amount equivalent to a single trip, and that is why "paper" tickets still have to be used, making the turnstiles useless. And please don't insult the riding public more by saying that this can't be done, MTA! Even the issue of crediting fare to the proper agency is not insurmountable, dang it! In this age of smartphones, you can not find a programmer smart enough to figure this one out? It is amazing how this has become a comedy of errors, but the fare & tax payers can't afford to laugh. Don't even get me started about the lack of back-up plans for passengers' trip continuity in case of line stoppages. Oh, wait, they do have one back-up plan: the barely audible instruction for everyone to get off the train. Tsk, tsk, first world country, third world strategies.
Jon

Temecula, CA

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#16
Aug 22, 2010
 
I have recently travelled to the opposite side of the Pacific Rim. The mass transit systems there are lightyears above what Los Angeles' crap MTA transit system is. In Hong Kong, they lock the turnstyle and offer the option of using either a traditional plastic card ticket, or for a small amount of money, you can purchase a "Octopus" card; a true no-quibble payment system. You pay money at any subway station and you can tap it almost anywhere in Hong Kong: Vending machines, 7-Eleven, museum entrances, 100 year old trams, new subways, busses, ferries, theme parks, drugstores, you name it. It's very elegant and drives good economy in Hong Kong.

In Taiwan and Japan, similar options are available. And in mainland China, there is a similar system for the Shenzhen subway as well. I felt like each system was properly set up and run for prime efficiency, a good rider experience, and good profitability for the operator. In all these cases, the stations attract many businesses to them making them very good retail hubs.

For any of these systems, there's a 100% refundable deposit for the card and no registration is required - cash on the barrel is OK.

Now here's my concern with the Los Angeles system: There isn't any access control effected to stations. This is especially terrifying at the intersecting stations of the Green and Blue line in Watts, which neither has access control nor attendants. I'm sorry, Watts is a scary place to this day, even in daylight hours. And just anyone along the street can wander in and mug passengers waiting for the train with no deterrent.

So why am I such a paranoid person about this? I can tell you why. There was an incident in Washington, DC where my group was held up by a group of armed youth on the DC Subway. Our lives were most likely saved by a brilliant sharp-eyed gate attendant at the exit to the station who recognized our situation had become precarious and promptly got the police involved.

There's no such level of security on the Metro Rail system in Los Angeles and it contributes to making the system dangerous. Irregular patrols by fare inspectors just aren't enough for safety of riders. These trains go through areas that terrify people and the "stations" are nothing more than a platform with no personnel. What a joke.

I say add those barricade gates, tell whoever doesn't want them to be damned, and position at least a couple of crew members at each station. It's a true pittance compared to the staffing in Asia but it would at least give a semblance of safety to the station and improve ridership. If you can afford to disgorge millions of tax dollars on stupid pet projects, you can afford a few station attendants.

I know my views are explicitly _NOT_ politically correct. But they are correct, and I don't kowtow to anyone on the truth.
Dont

United States

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#17
Aug 22, 2010
 
What the article fails to mention is that the current TAP system does NOT allow for pay-as-you-go use. This is standard practice in major cities around the world from New York to London. Most of those systems allow you to put money on an electronic card and use like a credit card for your fares. Not so with the MTA TAP system. In the infinite wisdom of the MTA, you can only purchase weekly or monthly "passes" on the electronic TAP system. There is not pay-as-you-go option. Well, if you're like me and you don't use public transit enough to make it thrifty to purchase a weekly or monthly pass, then why would you use the TAP card? There's a huge disincentive to switch from single fare cash or tokens to a TAP system that penalizes you. What was one of the best systems in the States has suddenly become a huge debacle. Shame on the MTA. Shame, shame, shame!
MTA needs improvement

Walnut, CA

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#18
Aug 22, 2010
 
Kevin wrote:
I like the TAP system. I don't know any of those people they mentioned in the article but everybody i know who uses Metro uses the TAP cards and likes it. Everybody thinks it's a good program. It makes Metro that much easier to use.
As the article indicated, the TAP card was implemented in the rush manner. One time, a bus driver told me that after I swiped the TAP card, the system indicate that I did not pay. It has been happen for the previous time. He said he trust me, but other bus drivers may not let me go easily. I talk to the bus agent, and he said many reader have problems, he heard that all the time. The solution, keep receipt.
MTA needs improvement

Walnut, CA

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#19
Aug 22, 2010
 
Shiela Jennings wrote:
Yes, TAP is great. I have not noticed the problems mentioned. I finally feel like LA has a sophisticated transit system. People who criticize obviously have never gone Metro.
Sophisticaed!!!!! after taking 20 years bus. I am frustrated. MTA finally implements turnstiles. I never like taking the bus. Subway is great but it does not go anyway. This illustrate why MTA is so screw up
MTA needs improvement

Walnut, CA

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#20
Aug 22, 2010
 
Jon wrote:
I have recently travelled to the opposite side of the Pacific Rim. The mass transit systems there are lightyears above what Los Angeles' crap MTA transit system is. In Hong Kong, they lock the turnstyle and offer the option of using either a traditional plastic card ticket, or for a small amount of money, you can purchase a "Octopus" card; a true no-quibble payment system.....
Also. even in the N America, MTA is light year behind other cities such as Vancouver, Chicago, D.C, San Francisco, etc (forget about New York, it take 1000 light year to catch that).

In Hong Kong, there are no turnstile in many light rail stations. In Vancouver, there are no turnstile in many stations (I did not check). The turnstiles help to prevent the fare dodgers. However, if there are not enough riders, the cost of installing turnstile may not offset. In HK, turnstiles are everywhere since everyone depends on that, so it makes sense to install turnstiles. Less people take light rail (and less I mean much much more than LA since the connecting bus/subway do go somewhere), so there is not turnstile. I guess same theory apply to Vancouver. The ridership is much much ...much lower in LA (due to its inefficient bus system), i wonder if that makes sense to spend that much money on turnstiles. the money could be use to improve the third world transit in LA. MTA is never good about prioritize. It was true past 20 year. It is true. It is true after 30 years
DeeZee

United States

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#21
Aug 22, 2010
 
Brandon wrote:
UCLA uses the TAP card and its the best thing going. The turnstiles bring order to chaos. TAP has made huge improvements over the last few months. there is no better smart card system out there. The reporter seems to be way off base. I wonder if she uses the Metro? Metro needs to invest more in technology and build more rail lines. Transit in LA rocks. Everyone needs to get out of their cars and onto Metro.
So how much did the MTA pay you to say that?

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