SEPTA to end Key card’s 10,000 cap starting August 1st as rollout continues

As Elvis famously sang, only fools rush in.

SEPTA’s taking that to heart with its rollout of its new payment technology, the SEPTA Key fare card. When it first debuted the card in mid-June, SEPTA capped the number at 10,000 and limited its use to just daily, weekly and monthly TransPasses for use on the authority’s subway, trolley and buses.

Starting August 1st, that 10,000 limit will go away, and riders who didn’t pick up their new cards during the first phase of SEPTA’s Early Adopter program may do so then. SEPTA Key cards will be available at the ticket windows at 15th Street Station and SEPTA’s Headquarters at 1234 Market Street. While passengers will need to pick up the cards from the ticket window, they will be able to reload their cards online, over the phone, or by using the SEPTA Key kiosks.

Beginning August 8th, more stations will begin selling the Key cards as well, in a slow expansion. These cards will be limited to just weekly and monthly TransPasses — no daily option at this time.

SEPTA Key’s most anticipated feature—replacing tokens with a reloadable “Travel Wallet” account—is still months away from becoming publically available, as SEPTA continues it’s painstakingly careful rollout of the fare system. SEPTA hopes to make that feature available by the end of this year.

Once SEPTA Key launches full for transit services, SEPTA will begin rollout on Regional Rail and Paratransit services.

Out of those 10,000 Key holders, SEPTA has had 14,474 reload pass purchases, with the overwhelming majority coming from Weekly TransPasses. Those riders have used kiosks mainly to buy more passes—76 percent—with another 18 percent using the online option. The 10,000 Early Adopters have made over 340,000 trips in the few weeks they’ve had their cards. 

Despite the years of delays and snail-paced debut, SEPTA hopes that, once riders get their hands on a Key Card, they’ll sing the rest of Elvis’s refrain: “I can’t help falling in love with you.”  

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