At long last, SEPTA’s new payment technology, SEPTA Key, will debut on Monday, June 13th.
Well, sort of.
SEPTA will launch its “Early Adopter” program that morning, making up to 10,000 Key Cards available on a first-come, first-serve basis. SEPTA’s Daily ridership, which includes multiple trips by a single passenger, averages around 904,000 a day.
Rich Burnfield, SEPTA’s deputy general manager, was unwilling to say how long before SEPTA would end the pilot and open SEPTA Key up to anyone.
“This is a big change for our customers,” said Burnfield. “We’re anxious to hear back from our customers as to the experience as to having the keycard.”
SEPTA will set up a special system for the Early Adopters to provide feedback.
“We’ll be using that input to fine tune the program before we expand it to more customers,” said Burnfield.
Even the lucky few pilots won’t be able to throw away their tokens just yet: SEPTA Key Card will only replace weekly and monthly TransPasses, not token usage. About 101,000 passengers use weekly or monthly passes. That figure includes 15,000 riders who get their passes through their employers via SEPTA’s ComPass program, which is excluded from the pilot.
The pilot is also limited to buses, trolleys, subway lines and the Norristown High Speed Line. SEPTA Key implementation on Regional Rail and paratransit won’t begin until sometime next year.
SEPTA Key will arrive around 2.5 years behind schedule, delayed by the project’s unexpected complexity and software bugs.
Burnfield said that the new fare cards would be available via SEPTA Key kiosks at twelve subway stations, starting around 5 A.M. On the Market-Frankford Line, those stations are: 69th Street Transportation Center, 52nd Street, 30th Street, 15th Street/Dilworth Park, Erie-Torresdale and the Frankford Transportation Center. On the Broad Street Line, those stations are: Olney Transportation Center, Erie (South Mezzanine), Cecil B. Moore, Dilworth Park, Walnut/Locust and Snyder. Customers can also try to join the pilot at SEPTA’s headquarters at 1234 Market Street using the lobby kiosks or the sales office, but that doesn’t open until 8 A.M.