SEPTA announces new fare system
University City stations among first to adopt payment with passes
January 25, 2012, 9:33 pm · Updated January 30, 2012, 1:36 pm·
Overcoming budget instability, SEPTA announced it will unveil a new fare system by the end of 2013.
The new smart card fare technology — one of several updates being made to Philadelphia’s transit system — will allow patrons to use train passes instead of tokens. It will also allow people to pay with credit and debit cards.
The University City stations will be among the first to adopt the new payment technology system.
$20 million has been set aside for the project, according to SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch. The project was originally announced in 2008, but due to unstable funding, it was halted, Busch said .
The project was brought back on the table last fall. SEPTA has also had to defer a list of projects due to the budget cuts.
Busch has high hopes for the new fare system.
“It will modernize the system, make it more accessible for riders and efficient for collecting fares,” he said.
SEPTA Youth Advisory Council member Jacob Nussbaum agrees with Busch.
“I think it would be a lot more user-friendly than the token system,” he said. “It would be a lot more flexible. It would change the way people buy their TransPasses.”
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences freshman Shoshana Yaffee thinks the new fare system will be “way better.”
She added that it will encourage her to take SEPTA more often because it would be more convenient.
“It’s less of a hassle than using a bunch of coins,” Wharton sophomore Alberto Santiago Alvarez said.
Meanwhile several regional lines are in the process of a complete overhaul, according to Busch. In 2009, Obama’s stimulus package gave SEPTA $191 million to modernize the Spring Garden station on the Market-Frankford line and the Girard station on the Broad Street Line, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Wayne Junction station is currently being renovated, though it may take a little longer for it to reach completion, according to Busch.
Nussbaum said SEPTA received funding to extend the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia.
Although the University City stations are just as old as others around the city, Busch said that they would not be undergoing any renovations. The Market-Frankford Line underwent a major overhaul in 2009 to the point that it’s “almost a new line,” he said.
This article has been updated from a prior version to reflect that Nussbaum said the new system would change the way people buy TransPasses, not train passes and that the Norristown High Speed Line will be extended, not the North Line.