SEPTA to spend $22 million to upgrade fare collection boxes in buses and trolleys
The box replacement is necessary to swap out vintage units from the ‘90s that can’t be repaired, and won’t accept payments.
The fare boxes on some 1,500 SEPTA buses and trolleys are functionally obsolete.
“We’ve run out of the ability to replace parts for those when they go. Think about using a computer from the 90s if a chip or logic board went,” said SEPTA’s Andrew Busch. “Where are you going to find a replacement? So, those are the problems we are running into now.”
Since many people use non-cash payments, it might seem like a cash collection method is no longer needed. But Busch said cash boxes are absolutely necessary.
“There are still customers who are going to use cash and we don’t see that ending any time soon, if ever,” Busch said.
For those who prefer cashless payment, the $22 million dollar project will also result in fare boxes that can take credit cards.
“We expect that in the later part of this year we will roll out a pilot where we can accept credit cards and phones,” Busch said.
The new fare boxes are expected to be installed in a year or so. New buses delivered to the transit agency will feature the upgraded fare box.
SEPTA is also planning a major upgrade after these new fare boxes are installed. It will make the system easier to adapt to modern technology, such as paying with phones. Busch says the “Key 2” upgrades will be implemented as soon as possible.
“SEPTA will have installed these fare boxes by the time we start to make upgrades on the Key system. So it’s a given that these will have to be in place so we can start to make some more improvements,” Busch said.
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