Make sure to bring a couple extra quarters next time you go downtown, because SEPTA fares are going up.
Starting July 1, the cash fare for transit services — including the subway, trolleys and buses — will increase from $2 to $2.25, and the cost of a token will increase from $1.55 to $1.80.
Costs for regional rail tickets will also go up as part of zone restructuring.
While most fare types increase in cost every three years, this year’s changes represents the first increase in cash fare for transit since 2001, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said. Only about 10 percent of SEPTA’s riders use cash as opposed to tokens or passes, and SEPTA has kept the cash fare constant because “we didn’t want to cause a hardship for our riders,” Busch said.
The effect of the fare increase on prices for semesterly SEPTA passes — offered through Penn to full-time, commuting students — depends on the area to which the student is traveling.
“While this new structure increased rates for many, as a result of the re-zoning changes the cost of commuter passes decreased for some Penn commuters, including some students,” Penn’s Director of Business Services Brian Shaw said in a statement.
For most students, however, the price will go up by $3 per month, he added.
Despite the fare increase, SEPTA is not expecting a sharp decline in ridership, in part because the periodic and small fare increases are easier for riders to adjust to than larger increases that come less frequently.
Since implementing the policy establishing incremental fare increases, Busch said that SEPTA hasn’t seen the “ridership drop-off” that historically comes with price hikes.
However, with the upcoming rollout of a new payment system, the transit authority decided it was time to increase the base cash fare.
After pilot testing this fall, the new payment system is “first going to be available for use in late spring of next year,” Busch said, adding that it will be phased in over several months.
The electronic payment project will allow riders to pay with credit or debit cards or a rechargeable pay-as-you-go card like those used by transit systems in other major cities.
The changes are projected to bring in an additional $25 million in revenue for the authority, which is projected to have a $38 million shortfall for fiscal year 2014, beginning July 1.
The fare increase is unlikely to change Penn students’ behavior, rising College junior Jackson Kulas said.
“On the margin, 25 cents isn’t a big fare increase, especially when you compare it to the cost of a cab,” he said, adding that the increase might be more significant if he took SEPTA every day.
Emily Weiss, a rising Engineering junior, takes regional rail to work in the suburbs every day in the summer and called the fare increase “really annoying.”
While she often rides her bike around the city instead of taking SEPTA or a cab, she said that despite the price increase, “if it’s raining I’m still going to take SEPTA.”Comments powered by Disqus
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