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In an effort to stem crime, Metro demands fare cards as riders exit station

Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — A new pilot program that forces Metro riders leaving the North Hollywood Station to use their TAP cards to exit is the latest attempt to improve riders' sense of security after a wave of violent crime.

While some riders welcomed the tactic, others remained skeptical — and some jumped turnstiles to avoid the new rules.

TAP cards are reloadable fare cards used to get into public transit. With most riders earning less than $50,000 a year, the agency has several programs to lower the cost of cards or provide them for free.

Unveiled this week, the 90-day program is aimed at getting people to use their TAP card and discourage riders who use the system for drugs or shelter and often board the trains without paying. It's paired with increasingly frequent cleaning, more transit officers and a sweeping of the cars, so passengers don't loiter or pass out on the seats.

"The goal is not to collect more revenue, it is to enforce the rules," said Stephen Tu, Metro deputy executive officer of station experience. Since its implementation on Tuesday, he said, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has logged a 90% increase in fare gate transactions.

Passengers will have to tap to enter and leave, though if they have already paid they will not be charged to exit. Enforcement begins Monday.

 

Tu explains that the process encourages passengers who may not have entered at a fared gate to purchase their fares.

Those who don't pay can be subject to a $75 fine.

Law enforcement says most of those arrested on the system haven't paid their fare. It's not unusual to see passengers jump over turnstiles or use the emergency doors to get into the system.

"It's about fare compliance and making sure that the expectations of people coming into the system know that at some point in their journey, they're going to be checked with their fare," Tu said.

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