• SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

  • Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.
Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

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  by mbm537
 
It looks like one of the easiest ways to pay a SEPTA fare is with the NJ Transit app on my phone. For a long while, you couldn't buy through tickets from NY Penn to 30th Street, but just recently I noticed it was enabled. I use it quite often for other NJ Transit rail and bus trips, and it's very simple to use: just buy a ticket on the app, then activate it before boarding and show to the conductor. Simple as that.

Metro North and LIRR apps work pretty much the same way. Oh, and now you can use your phone to pay your NYC subway and bus fares as well. I just don't know why SEPTA had to reinvent the wheel.

I grew up in Delco and spent the first part of my adult years in Philly, but have lived the last few decades in NYC. I've also used transit systems in Boston and San Francisco. They're all generally user-friendly - except for SEPTA.

Which is why I usually rent a car when I go to the Philly area.
  by JeffK
 
mbm537 wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:55 pm I just don't know why SEPTA had to reinvent the wheel.
I spoke at some length with planners when the Key was first being cobbled together (the most polite term I can use ...). One of them told me there was more than a little FUD - fear, uncertainty, and doubt - permeating 1234. He described an almost palpable fear that any significant change from the legacy system would break known revenue streams, leading to a loss of control and thus lower revenues.

Soooo ... instead of starting with a clean slate and looking at other systems' best practices, SEPTA's management insisted on a digital replica of the crazy quilt of fare policies that had accreted since the PTC. Surprise, surprise, no vendor had anything close so they went for a bespoke implementation. While I don’t have specifics, reportedly just recreating the $1 transfer fee added a considerable amount of time and expense. After having worked on multiple legacy IT systems I’m prepared to believe that assertion.
I've also used transit systems in Boston and San Francisco. They're all generally user-friendly - except for SEPTA.
I can add LA, London, Paris, and Melbourne to your list. All were far easier than SEPTA. My daughter was able to pay by smartphone when she lived in Berlin, and that was over a decade ago.
  by rcthompson04
 
The patchwork of fare systems really fits into the notion that SEPTA never integrated enough on the transit side while trying to integrate too much on the Regional Rail side. Having a completely different system on the Regional Rail with limited transit functionality was probably the way to go.
  by PHLSpecial
 
At this point Septa is going to have to reinvent the wheel to make fare payments easier.
Hopefully Septa is done upgrading all the tap readers to accept payments from mobile devices.
This is how I would fix the system.
1. Get rid of the debt card feature off the key card.
2. Update the machines with a more user friendly UI and pretty UI. Also the tickets comes with one transfer that can be used on the subways, trolleys or buses. Ticket expires in 24 hours if not used.
3. Instead of monthly pass the fare system can adapt fare capping. Within a month a pays out of pocket for $90 only using the bus, trolleys, subways. Anything above that is free rides for the rest of the month. If a user using regional rail, rides become free after spending $150. I'm just making an example.
4. Buy regional rail tickets at regional rail stations. Should work the same way as the MFL and BSL. If that can't work bring back the mobile payments.

I'm sure there is more that can be done. Septa really needs to simply the fare payments so that we can buy and hop on board.
  by MACTRAXX
 
PHL: Good thoughts - I will add:
1-Ending the debit card portion of the SEPTA Key is a good idea especially if this makes new SEPTA Key cards
less expensive and removes the un-necessary problems of the card expiration date. See: PAT (Pittsburgh)
Connect Card for one of the best examples.

2-Quick Tickets for cash riders should be more flexible. Adding a one-transfer option and making them valid
for a longer period - 24 hours minimum - will help.

3-I am all for "fare capping" or better yet ending ride limits on 7 and 30 day pass options the same as SEPTA
offered with ALL Legacy Passes. This was suggested by the transit advocates that helped draw up the 2045
Transport Plan for the City of Philadelphia. Will the "bean counter" types that came up with the weekly and
monthly ride limits for the SEPTA Key go along with this plan which will end up benefitting riders?

4-I was against ending the sale of Regional Rail legacy tickets - which traditionally offered options to riders
that paid cash as example - at least until the Key was even more established. There probably may have been
a substantial backlash to the discontinuance of RRD ticket sales had the pandemic not happened.

In closing the "KISS" thought when it comes to paying fares should be observed...MACTRAXX
  by dcipjr
 
When SEPTA talks about Apple Pay integration, does that mean that they're going to use the Apple Pay Express Transit system, where you can add a SEPTA Key to your phone's Wallet, and use your phone as your Key card?

Or does it merely mean that you'll be able to pay with any contactless NFC method, including phones?

If it's the former, then that's great, but I strongly suspect the latter.
  by andrewjw
 
dcipjr wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:03 am When SEPTA talks about Apple Pay integration, does that mean that they're going to use the Apple Pay Express Transit system, where you can add a SEPTA Key to your phone's Wallet, and use your phone as your Key card?

Or does it merely mean that you'll be able to pay with any contactless NFC method, including phones?

If it's the former, then that's great, but I strongly suspect the latter.
The latter would be much better (provided they charge Key fares, not cash fares, obviously) - this is what New York and London do and it substantially lowers the barrier to entry for tourists and other infrequent users of the system.
  by JeffK
 
andrewjw wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:46 pm
dcipjr wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:03 am When SEPTA talks about Apple Pay integration, does that mean that they're going to use the Apple Pay Express Transit system, where you can add a SEPTA Key to your phone's Wallet, and use your phone as your Key card?

Or does it merely mean that you'll be able to pay with any contactless NFC method, including phones?

If it's the former, then that's great, but I strongly suspect the latter.
The latter would be much better (provided they charge Key fares, not cash fares, obviously) - this is what New York and London do and it substantially lowers the barrier to entry for tourists and other infrequent users of the system.
Early on in the Key's development, it was promised that open payments would be at the Key rate. In typical SEPTA fashion, that promise has vanished from everything I’ve heard more recently.

Given how much “found money” is brought in by cash fares - especially the RRD “surcharge that isn’t a surcharge” - I’m not the least bit surprised.
  by ryan92084
 
It hasn't just vanished they flat out said the opposite
The tap-to-pay system won’t be tied to the SEPTA Travel Wallet or TransPass systems. Instead, it will merely charge your credit card, which means you won’t get the Travel Wallet discount of 50 cents per ride, or the TransPass bulk discount. SEPTA says it will eventually aim to integrate its existing fare systems into Apple Pay.
https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/12/ ... apple-pay/

While hunting down that quote i did find one update article with the new projection of sometime in 2021 for apple/google pay https://whyy.org/articles/septa-key-tra ... -per-trip/
  by PHLSpecial
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:29 pm PHL: Good thoughts - I will add:
1-Ending the debit card portion of the SEPTA Key is a good idea especially if this makes new SEPTA Key cards
less expensive and removes the un-necessary problems of the card expiration date. See: PAT (Pittsburgh)
Connect Card for one of the best examples.

2-Quick Tickets for cash riders should be more flexible. Adding a one-transfer option and making them valid
for a longer period - 24 hours minimum - will help.

3-I am all for "fare capping" or better yet ending ride limits on 7 and 30 day pass options the same as SEPTA
offered with ALL Legacy Passes. This was suggested by the transit advocates that helped draw up the 2045
Transport Plan for the City of Philadelphia. Will the "bean counter" types that came up with the weekly and
monthly ride limits for the SEPTA Key go along with this plan which will end up benefitting riders?

4-I was against ending the sale of Regional Rail legacy tickets - which traditionally offered options to riders
that paid cash as example - at least until the Key was even more established. There probably may have been
a substantial backlash to the discontinuance of RRD ticket sales had the pandemic not happened.

In closing the "KISS" thought when it comes to paying fares should be observed...MACTRAXX
Mactraxx I would like to expand a little on your last point. I think that the quick trip ticket sales need to be at all regional rail stations not just the 5 center city stations.
  by MACTRAXX
 
PHL: No need for un-necessary quotes. That only uses up bandwidth space.

To extend Quick Trip sales to every RRD ticket office outside Center City Philadelphia SEPTA would need to
install (expensive) TOMs (Ticket Office Machines) of the same type used at CCP ticket offices.

Did you ever notice the minimal system that SEPTA uses for Key sales outside CCP consisting of a small laptop
type computer along with a tiny device to encode the Key?

One of the reasons that I was against the premature end of RRD ticket sales (I do feel that SEPTA did use the
large ridership drop from the pandemic to their not-so-good advantage) was the loss of sale options for all
cash riders. As I have noted earlier in this topic RRD legacy tickets were good for 180 days/6 months from
the date of sale - compared to QT fares which are only valid on the date sold. The flexibility that RRD legacy
tickets offered for cash and other occasional riders that did not use RRD enough to need passes is no longer
there. Penalizing riders for not having adequate access to or not purchasing a un-necessary Key is wrong.

MACTRAXX
  by PHLSpecial
 
I'm not sure who other agencies do it like the NJT, MARC and LIRR. Do they have TOMs installed at everyone station? I only used Marc twice and remember they had TOMs or paid on app. I'm not sure how NJT does it or LIRR.
  by JeffK
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Sun Jun 27, 2021 6:26 pm One of the reasons that I was against the premature end of RRD ticket sales ... was the loss of sale options for all cash riders. As I have noted earlier in this topic RRD legacy tickets were good for 180 days/6 months from the date of sale - compared to QT fares which are only valid on the date sold. The flexibility that RRD legacy tickets offered for cash and other occasional riders that did not use RRD enough to need passes is no longer there.
As is also true for the flexibility transit riders lost when tokens were eliminated. Several of us kept warning about that issue at public meetings, etc. but no one listened.
Penalizing riders for not having adequate access to or not purchasing a un-necessary Key is wrong.
EXACTLY!!!
  by AlexC
 
https://whyy.org/articles/septa-key-2-0 ... strations/
Authority officials are conducting an industry-wide review of fare payment systems and asking experts for their input on how to improve the troubled Key card.

Through a Request for Information announced Monday, officials hope to ultimately create a fare payment system that can change with the times and adapt to riders’ needs, offer more convenience to riders, and open the door to partnerships with other transit providers.
We dont have the money to do it right, but we've got the money to do it twice.
  by Head-end View
 
Doing it twice vs. Doing it right the first time? That's about par for a government run operation.

Someone asked above about ticket vending practices on other commuter railroads? New York's much criticized MTA (which runs LIRR and Metro-North) has well-equipped ticket vending machines at most stations outside the city, so you can almost always buy your ticket before boarding. Machines accept cash or card. :-D
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