SEPTA Key Travel Wallet will soon work on Regional Rail, allowing riders to pay per trip

Regional rail stations were nearly empty on March 17 in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Regional rail stations were nearly empty on March 17 in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Your SEPTA KEY Travel Wallet will soon work on Regional Rail.

Starting Monday, July 13, rail riders will be able to tap in and out at card readers located at turnstiles or on platforms of SEPTA rail stations for single trips.

“This will make it more convenient and our system more flexible, said SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards. “We also can continue with being more hygienic offering this contactless fare system.”

SEPTA warns if customers do not tap in or out they’ll be charged the highest fare. Customers using weekly or monthly passes must also tap.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Earlier this year, the authority introduced the tap-to-exit function at Center City Regional Rail stations to prepare riders for the Key Card’s integration with Regional Rail. With the expansion, SEPTA Key has finally reached full implementation throughout the network.

A feature to pay for parking is in the works, but no specific rollout date has been set. Meanwhile, SEPTA’s new fare structure, which will allow children under 12 to ride free throughout the SEPTA system, begins Wednesday.

The Key upgrade comes just as SEPTA increased Regional Rail service this week after months of a drastically reduced schedule in reaction to the pandemic. Most lines now run hourly, with the airport and Paoli/Thorndale lines running every 30 minutes. Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd lines remain suspended.

SEPTA first introduced the Key Card for Zone 3 and 4 trailpass users on Regional Rail in 2018. That summer they also installed card reader turnstiles at the five Center City stations — Temple, Jefferson, Suburban, 30th Street and University City. Then the trailpass transition continued with Zones 1 and 2 in spring 2019. Once the card was introduced on all four zones, SEPTA phased out paper trailpasses.

More than 35,000 monthly and weekly trailpasses have been loaded onto SEPTA Key as of June 22.

Due to coronavirus safety precautions, conductors are not accepting cash aboard trains. Cash paying customers traveling to Center City will have to purchase a Quick Trip at an exit kiosk. Conductors may make an exception for cash riders traveling outside of the Center City stations, said SEPTA deputy general manager Rich Burnfield.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Officials say mobile device and contactless credit card payment capabilities — the feature included in the initial vision for SEPTA Key back in 2007 — are on the way. No firm date for completion has been set, as the software is still being developed and upgraded card readers must be installed, but Burnfield offered a rough projection of 2021.

“That is a feature that we’re anxious to implement,” said Burnfield. “That continues to be a priority for SEPTA.”

Subscribe to PlanPhilly

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal