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Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Is Finally Accepting TAP Cards

Big Blue Bus (Photo by Chris via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Things have just gotten a little easier for Santa Monica Big Blue Bus riders: all those buses are now accepting fares using TAP cards.

While TAP cards are accepted on different modes of transit throughout L.A. county from Metro to the Culver City Bus, it's been sorely needed on the Big Blue Bus since it's one of the larger city bus lines in the county. The Big Blue Bus lines not only travel around Santa Monica but also to LAX and UCLA.

The way it works is that you just have to tap your TAP card on the validator when you board the bus, and the screen will show green to let you know your card is valid. Then press load a pass, transfer or Stored Value before you board, according to the Big Blue Bus website. As long as you have any stored value or an EZ Pass on your TAP card, or an Access ID card, you're good to go.

Jose Barba, Big Blue Bus Customer Service Supervisor tells LAist that they're still working out some kinks, so even though all the buses are accepting the TAP fares, they've had a few validators that didn't quite work with the cards.

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The Big Blue Bus aren't selling TAP cards at their transit store located at 1444 4th St. in Santa Monica just yet; they're planning to start selling them in a couple of weeks if all goes according to plan, Barba says. However, you can still purchase TAP cards at Metro stops, online here, by phone at 866.TAPTOGO (866.827.8646), or different TAP vendors which you can find here. If you already have a TAP card, all you have to do is fill it up.

It'll cost the same as it always does to ride the Big Blue Bus, with regular local and Rapid fares at $1, and $2 for the Rapid 10 Express.

As for transferring between Big Blue Bus and Metro, it's a little different depending on which mode of transportation you board first. According to Big Blue Bus:

When you board a BBB bus first: You will need to pay the appropriate transfer fee in cash ($0.50 regular or $0.25 discounted) at the farebox and ask the BBB driver for either a paper transfer to present to the Metro bus operator OR a special TAP transfer to enter the automatic gates at metro rail station. When you board a Metro Bus or Rail line first, you may use stored value (if you have it on your TAP card) or use cash to purchase your Interagency transfer. Confirm with your Metro bus operator that the transfer has been loaded to your TAP card and then simply "tap" your card when you board your next leg of travel on Big Blue Bus.

For more information on the Big Blue Bus accepting TAP cards, check out their website here. Big Blue Bus also did a Reddit Ask Me Anything Q&A last month about implementing the TAP card.

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