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Philadelphia is the last major city to stop using tokens, starting Jan. 1, 2024. Credit: Roger Ge

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, SEPTA will no longer accept tokens for their transit systems. 

Philadelphia is the last major city to stop using tokens. Individuals can now pay their fare for SEPTA’s services by tapping a credit card, mobile wallet, or SEPTA key card. 

Since the 1880s, Philadelphia has utilized a token system for transportation fares, and SEPTA took over the production of tokens in 1968. Before 2018, SEPTA tokens could be purchased in various college houses, Houston Hall, and the Penn Bookstore. 

However, in 2018, SEPTA halted all production of the tokens and began a six-year phaseout of tokens. Despite the cessation of production, the metal alloy coins are still publicly circulated and used. From the 1880s to 2018, SEPTA collected 800,000 tokens a week, but from 2018 until now, SEPTA merely collected 750 tokens a week. 

In 2018, when SEPTA stopped producing tokens, they implemented a key card system through which individuals could load money onto a key card for their transportation fares. 

According to the Inquirer, SEPTA encourages individuals to load the value of any outstanding tokens — each worth $2.00 — onto a key card, which costs $4.95 to obtain. The tokens can not be redeemed for cash, so they must either be loaded onto a key card or kept as a token of memorabilia. 

SEPTA has a SEPTA Key University Pass Program, which allows university students a discount of approximately ten percent — half of which is covered by SEPTA and half by the student’s university. 

While the tokens will no longer serve as a form of payment for transportation services, individuals can collect old tokens, create token jewelry, and purchase said jewelry in locations ranging from Etsy to the SEPTA Transit Store.