As far back as 1995 when the base MTA fare was $1.35, savvy passengers could hook themselves up with one of the unsung bargains in the city — a bag of 10 tokens for $9 — and save themselves 40 45 cents with every ride. Then came 2003 when the MTA cagily did away with transfers, dropped the fare to $1.25 and debuted the $3 all-day sucker (now $5). As that dreaded Dawn of the Day Pass approached I did a genius thing: I went into my local liquor store and loaded up on several bags worth of never-say-die tokens, and seeing as how I’m only a now-and-again patron, in the six-years since I’ve been enjoying the convenience and discount of a one-coin, 90-cent fare whenever I board a bus or train.
Alas, the eventual day has finally come where I find myself down to my last few tokens, and while they’re still sold in bags of 10 it’s at $12.50, no longer at any discount. With that bargain gone as well as the news that fare gates are starting to sprout up at various rail stations (and I hate having to deal with having exact change), I figured the time was right for me to get myself upgraded to one of them newfangled reloadable Transit Access Pass (TAP) cards that are all the rage.
But off to metro.net I went where I clicked on the TAP card section and was taken to a Base Fares & Tokens page that gave me another link to a TAP Card page that finally assured me I could purchase one online, and gave me another link to do so. Yet when I clicked it up popped this thing of fail, of course:
At first I thought about submitting a comment alerting the MTA to the error, but I figured since it was the MTA and I’m deeply entrenched in middle age I might be dead before they got around to fixing the glitch. So instead I read the error message and since it was a bad secure connection issue decided to see what would happen if I took the “s” out of the “https” of the following address:
Sure enough, all that got me was a 404 Page Not Found error, so then I scrubbed off all that go_b.?ble/dy=gOOk after the dotnet, so the address looked like this:
Voila, I was where I needed to be no thanks to MTA’s state-of-the-art web portal.
But am I now the happy soon-to-be TAP cardholder? Of course I’m not. Because no thanks to the patently lame way taptogo.net is set up, it turns out that my bad URL-dodging skills were wasted and I was no closer to setting myself up as a card-carrying TAPper.
See, in any basic online experience of this nature, you’d think I should’ve been able to purchase a card pre-loaded with a certain amount, or an amount of my choosing. But Taptogo’s shopping experience wouldn’t allow that. Pffft. It kept rejecting my attempts to check out with the 1 Blue TAP Card in my cart, telling me I need to also buy my choice of three separate monthly passes at $62, $80 or $98 — passes which I don’t want or need. Because monthly passes expire.
So I called Taptogo’s customer service number and of course I got the most impatient don’t-you-know-it’s-Friday-afternoon-and-I’m-done-being-helpful representative who told me what I already new: that the only way to get a TAP card online was to also buy a monthly pass.
“But I don’t need or want a monthly pass.”
“Then you can’t get a TAP card online.”
“OK, can I get one from you?
Not without also buying a monthly pass.”
“Then where can I get a TAP card.”
“You can’t get one online without a monthly pass.”
“Right. Got that. Is there any place in the greater metropolitan area that I can physically go and get one?”
So until Metrodotlame and Taptogodotfail can figure out and implement some basic no-brainer internet point-of-purchase fundamentals, it’s “Taps” for TAP cards as far as I’m concerned. Full-priced tokens, here I come.