Metro's TAP Card: Buses, Trains and...Froyo?

Yogurt. After more than a year of using my Metro TAP card to take the bus to work and the train to meetings, it was froyo that finally revealed the full power found in that seemingly innocuous piece of plastic known as the “TAP” card...

The Metro TAP card is required to use the train system and is the preferred means to use the bus system here in Los Angeles. As director of communications and marketing for CicLAvia, I knew there was more to the card than just transportation. We actively promote Metro’s Destination Discounts program with each of our routes. The program encourages businesses along our routes to offer discounts to people participating in CicLAvia. All they have to do is show their card to receive the discount. Plus, we offer 15% off CicLAvia T-shirts at one of our hubs at each route for people with a TAP card.


It’s a pretty sweet deal. All you have to do is take advantage of it. And despite my knowledge of the program, that is something I failed to do. Until one evening when I was at my local frozen yogurt store.

The person in front of me was paying their bill and I saw them pull out their TAP card and show it to the cashier. As if bymagic, I saw their total cost for yogurt (and by yogurt, I mean three flavors, with fruit, cookie dough, whipped cream, chocolate, and sprinkles – a smorgasbord of sugary heaven) drop from $5 to $3. Such is the power of the TAP card.

You can bet I immediately whipped out my TAP card when I paid. And I haven’t looked back.

The next day, I researched Destination Discounts opportunities. I found my favorite local Mexican restaurant offered 20% off appetizers. I could get two-for-one admission at great museums. Instead of simply promoting businesses that offer Destination Discounts at CicLAvia, I actually went into them and enjoyed what they had to offer, and supported the business in the process.

If you own a business along CicLAvia route, joining the Destination Discounts program is a no-brainer. It costs nothing. All you have to do is offer a slight discount to receive free promotion from Metro and from CicLAvia. It’s a great way to expose your business to tens of thousands of potential customers.

If you’re a TAP card owner, be a lot smarter than I was and don’t take a year to visit the website to find out what discounts are out there. I easily missed out on $30 or more of free frozen yogurt over the course of 12 months by not realizing I could’ve gotten that discount. Since then, I’m sure that I have saved at least $200 at businesses across LA.

Do you own a business along the August 9 CicLAvia – Culver City Meets Venice route? If so, you have until Friday, July 31 to offer a discount and have your business featured on the Metro Destination Discounts website. For info, email [email protected].

-Rob Gard

CicLAvia Director of Communications and Marketing