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Tapping into transportation

Santa Clarita Transit agency replaces punch cards with the Transit Access Pass as of Nov. 1

Posted: October 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Senior transit ambassador Robert Brooks shows his Transit Access Pass card at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall. All transit users will be required to use the TAP card starting on Nov. 1.

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Otto Werner, of Valencia, depends on mass transit. At 90, he uses the city of Santa Clarita bus system to go to doctor appointments and grocery shopping.

“It’s a beautiful thing and just unbelievable for the cost,” he said.

Along with dozens of other seniors, Werner waited in line Tuesday at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall to receive a Transit Access Pass, or TAP card, that the city will require for all transit users starting on Nov. 1.

“The turnout was great. It was actually higher than expected, which was welcome news,” said Patrick Bryant, administrative analyst for the Santa Clarita Transit agency.

Bryant was on-hand at the center to take photos and print the free cards after receiving completed applications.

The TAP card replaces the outdated punch cards previously used by riders.

“I didn’t feel there was a concern or anxiety about the transition. It seemed like everyone was comfortable and knew what they would have to do,” Bryant said.

Mary Fanto, of Newhall, was one of them. While she only uses mass transit service minimally at the moment, she wanted to prepare for the day when she may no longer be able to drive.

“The TAP card seems pretty convenient, and it’s probably easier for the drivers,” she said. “Everything’s changing, you know?”

Featuring the users name and photo, the aptly named TAP card is tapped on specially outfitted toll boxes on transit vehicles. Once tapped, rider information is recorded and fare deducted from a preloaded amount on the card.

“For Dial-a-Ride, it’s usually $2 each way, though some patrons qualify for reduced fares,” Bryant said. “If a senior qualifies for reduced fares, they can apply at the senior center just like they used to with their punch tickets.”

To load fare onto TAP cards, users can visit one of ten locations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, including City Hall, the Aquatic Center, Newhall, Valencia and Canyon Country libraries and the transit maintenance facility.

“What we’re offering is the ability to buy 10, 20 or 40 ride packages. It just makes the whole fare payment system easier and more convenient,” Bryant said.

Regularly scheduled fixed route service on city of Santa Clarita buses is free, but riders still need to use their TAP card.
“It gives us an idea of how many seniors are riding,” Bryant said.

Werner is ready to hop aboard with his new TAP card.

“The transit system really works for me. I take advantage of it. The city does a beautiful job for older people,” he said.

Bryant and other transit representations will be back at the center on Wednesday to register more riders.

“This is a common place and a focal point for seniors, so it’s a logical to have TAP card registration here,” said SuzAnn

Nelson, director of supportive services at the center. “We’re happy to be the conduit to give seniors transportation options.
It’s one of the greatest needs in order to stay independent.”

TAP card registration at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday at 22900 Market St., Newhall. Proof of age is required. For more information, call (661) 295-6300 or visit


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