SEPTA could be on cutting edge with so-called ‘open fare’

    SEPTA is at the cutting edge of public transit-at least that’s what one expert says.

    Soon, SEPTA riders could start paying their bus, subway or train fare straight from their bank debit or credit cards. SEPTA signed a $130 million contract with a Maryland company in November to build a system to charge fares directly to financial institutions. “You know nobody has done it yet so they will be the guinea pig,” said writer John Lorinc, who covers urban affairs in Toronto. He said Philadelphia and Chicago represent the first big transit systems to give the so-called “open fare” scheme a try where you don’t have to buy a pass or farecard.  So other cities will watch closely to see how things go.

    Lorinc said convenience and lobbying from credit card companies have pushed the move to open fares. He said transit agencies will need to watch cost, and security of passengers’ information. In the future commuters will likely be able to pay using smartphones.

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