SEPTA Key’s Regional Rail rollout advances with more ‘tap to exit’ tech coming to stations

A customer holds up a SEPTA Key card.

A customer holds up a SEPTA Key card. (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

SEPTA wants Key card users to tap out.

Starting Monday, Regional Rail riders using the Key card will be able to complete their trip by tapping to exit at Jefferson Station weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The function is the next step toward full implementation of the Key card on SEPTA’s rail service.

“We want to see how it works,” SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said. “Make sure customers are getting familiar with it. We want to get them in the habit of how the Key is going to work.”

Commuters will be able to tap or swipe at about half of the 31 turnstiles at the Center City stop, which sees about 27,000 riders daily. SEPTA introduced four of the tap-to-exit turnstiles at Jefferson in November. Signage will guide Key-holding commuters to the designated turnstiles. Those traveling with paper tickets or who paid their fare with cash and find themselves at a locked turnstile will need to check in with a SEPTA Key ambassador before exiting, according to SEPTA.

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Suburban Station will be the next Regional Rail station to get the tap tech in late January or early February. Three more Center City stations will follow. SEPTA expects the function to be working across the full system by spring, with the introduction of the Travel Wallet to Regional Rail. When the system is fully up and running, customers will have to tap in and out at their home station to open and close their trips.

SEPTA rider Joseph Powell of East Oak Lane exited through the turnstiles where SEPTA ambassadors stood to inform riders of the coming change. He said he worries the unfamiliar tech may slow things down for riders in the beginning. But ultimately, it ought to lead to faster travel, the rider said.

“All it takes is time,” Powell said.

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