Case Study: Los Angeles TAP® Card System

Cubic has delivered a turnkey, integrated multi-modal smart card system for Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the largest “smart” ticketing and revenue management system in California. Cubic designed and developed both the field infrastructure and centralized processing system which is supporting Metro’s rail stations and its 4000 buses. The system includes more than 6000 smart card-enabled devices including fareboxes, ticket vending machines, merchant and operator point-of-sale terminals, rail validators and handheld devices.

Ten other independent transit operators across Los Angeles County have signed on to the new smart card-based system, furthering the goal of seamless regional interoperability. The key to the regional system is Cubic’s Nextfare Solution Suite, which serves as the Regional Central Data Collection System (RCDCS). Nextfare provides the regional back office and clearinghouse functions needed to perform funds settlement and financial reconciliation and manage data for the regional participants.



Cubic provides a 24/7 technical support call center, dispatch and a range of asset management services such as maintenance management, field maintenance and workshop maintenance.

In February, 2008, Metro awarded Cubic contracts to enhance Metro’s smart card system by adding Cubic’s advanced gating system and related services. Cubic’s open payment solution will ultimately feature payment options including Limited Use smart card functionality and Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile phones.

The Cubic AFC system is fully installed and operational for both rail and bus. Revenue service began in June 2006.

Metro – the recipient of the APTA 2006, Outstanding Public Transportation Award – continues to experience rail ridership gains and now provides over 370 million rides annually.

  • California’s largest smart card-based system
  • Links Metro, Metrolink and 10 municipal operators
  • Includes regional clearing and settlement
  • 6,000+ smart card enabled readers
  • 1.5+ million daily boardings
  • Potential expansion to new applications such as parking, schools, events, hotels and retail