Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Metro Has $1.3 Million In Unclaimed Fares On Expired TAP Cards

metro_at_night.jpg
(Photo by howard-f via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
Before you read more...
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.


The TAP card you likely have in your wallet will expire, and you'll have to get another one. Though there is a way to transfer the balance, Metro is currently sitting on $1.3 million in unclaimed fares.Your TAP card will eventually expire, and you'll need to spend $1 and get a new one. Some have a life expectancy of 3 years, while newer ones will last a decade. You should be able to transfer your balance from your old TAP card to your new one, but according to L.A. Weekly, it's not so simple. And because it's not a simple process, a lot of the money gets left behind—about half of it, which totals $1.3 million.

Some people probably lose their cards, throw them away, or—if you're like us—you have a collection from friends and family that have come into town and left their TAP cards behind. So, circumstances like that account for some of the unused funds.

But getting your money off an expired TAP isn't particularly simple. You have to call 866-TAPTOGO on a weekday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 pm. You might have to wait on hold for a long time before you actually get a human being, so some people just never get around to it. A buck here, two bucks there, and the unclaimed fares start to add up.

MTA officials aren't interested in making the system work at actual TAP vending machines because they fear customers might try to cheat the system, such as by stealing TAP cards and transferring the balance to their own. Currently, you can reclaim your balance on a stolen card if you've registered it online.

Support for LAist comes from

So far, Metro hasn't done anything with that unclaimed $1.3 million, though they do have the authority to take back $1 each month on every expired card if they so choose.