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L.A. Metro Introduces Tap-to-Exit Program to Address Rider Safety

Elgin Nelson

This week, a new initiative was launched to address the increase in violence affecting Metro transportation, requiring passengers to use their fare card to exit subway stations. This program aims to ensure that individuals on the trains have paid the fare before boarding, responding directly to remarks from Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, who recently highlighted that most individuals apprehended for crimes had not paid the proper fare. 

Passengers will need to use their TAP cards to pay before boarding buses or trains. Any passenger exiting the Metro B Line train at the North Hollywood station must also tap their fare card to leave the station. 

“We have also increased the visible presence of our teams at North Hollywood Station,” L.A. Metro said in a statement. “These include our Blue Shirts, who provide assistance with our Ticket Vending Machines, our Metro Ambassadors, who help riders navigate the system, connect you to resources and report issues they see, as well as our law enforcement partners, and our Transit Security Officers who enforce the Code of Conduct.”

Apart from aiming to reduce violence, Metro officials state that the initiative seeks to improve rider compliance with fare requirements. Those who do not pay or comply with the program may face citations or removal from the system. Tapping the card upon exit will confirm that the fare was paid for the trip. Individuals who do not tap upon entry will be charged upon exit but could still face penalties for not paying when boarding. 

This measure comes after several alarming incidents on Metro transportation including robbery, stabbings, and shootings, with some incidents resulting in fatalities. Last week, the Metro Board approved two motions to enhance passenger safety, including the immediate deployment of more law enforcement personnel and the exploration of potential technological improvements on buses, trains, and at stations.

“There is a spike [referring to the violence]—and we will aggressively address that,” said Mayor Karen Bass. 

LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she is working with the LAPD, the Sheriff’s Department, and Long Beach Police on a plan for increased enforcement. The agencies also confirmed their involvement.

The data indicates that most incidents are carried out by fare evaders. Of the 153 violent crimes on Metro from May 2023 to April 2024, 143, or over 93%, were committed by individuals who avoided paying a fare.

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