The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Free SEPTA Key Passes are being offered in collaboration with Penn Medicine, Drexel University, and Wawa to University City employees. Credit: Roger Ge

Penn Medicine, Drexel University, and Wawa are offering free SEPTA Key cards to employees that will be available starting May 1.

The three institutions will purchase over 15,600 monthly passes for $140 each and distribute them to employees in the hopes of increasing riding rates back to pre-pandemic levels, Philly Voice reported.

As of February, the number of SEPTA riders was still only about half of the pre-pandemic number, but ridership continues to rise. During the weeks of March 7, 14, and 21, SEPTA offered 25% off all weekly passes in an effort to increase ridership rates.

The passes will allow employees to use all of SEPTA’s public transportation services — including Regional Rail, which offers service to suburban parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey — for free under the six-month pilot program, according to 6 ABC. SEPTA’s Anywhere Pass, which provides the same access, costs $204 per month.

Participants can use a new or existing SEPTA Key card for their pass. The passes will be automatically reloaded each month throughout the six-month period.

Programs similar to SEPTA Key Advantage have increased ridership in other cities across the country, including Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. SEPTA hopes to expand the partnership to include additional employers.

By encouraging more people to take public transportation, officials are hoping to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality and mobility.

"Penn Medicine's employees are deeply invested in our collective efforts to be strong stewards of the environment, from our green-building initiatives to supporting our workforce and visitors with tools that support more eco-friendly transit, including bike racks and electric vehicle charging stations," University of Pennsylvania Health System CEO Kevin B. Mahoney told 6 ABC