Regional rail commuters in all four zones can ditch their monthly and weekly paper passes for SEPTA Key as soon as May 1.
The change means that commuters coming from more than 60 stops in Zones 1 and 2 no longer have to stand in line for their monthly and weekly passes and can instead load passes onto their SEPTA Key online, or via the phone. Monthly passes for the SEPTA Key can be purchased on April 20 and will be ready for use on May 1. Weekly passes will go on sale on May 1 for use starting on May 6.
“This is something that our customers have been waiting for us to open up for them,” said Leslie Hickman, chief officer of revenue operations.
Riders will soon be able to purchase trail passes at every SEPTA Key kiosk, but Hickman says that’ll start with the four Center City stations and North Broad in late spring.
Pass users accounted for about two-thirds of regional rail riders according to SEPTA’s revenue report released in February.
The SEPTA Key for Regional rail rollout began in August last year with Zone 4 in August, then Zone 3 in October. Hickman says riders reloaded their 2,000 cards 8,000 times since the rollout began.
Riders have praised the convenience of the card and the protection against loss or theft by registering it, says Hickman. The positive feedback from the rollout of Zones 3 and 4 gave the green light to expand to Zones 1 and 2.
“We would never put our customers in a position [where] they were going into a situation that was not user-friendly,” said Hickman.
The paper passes will be eventually phased out, but no date has been set. Single rides will be available through the travel wallet function, which may be “some time toward the end of the year.” Hickman says it’s an issue of training.
“We’d like to see it move quicker than that,” said Hickman. “But keep in mind, We also have to train all of our conductors on this function of travel wallet. So we want to make sure we have employees ready to engage and educate our customers."