• 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

  by lensovet
 
I haven’t used septa or the key card, but let me leave some comments about how it’s terrible.
  by RandallW
 
If I can't get the card to use for travel, but am required to use it for travel, then yes, it is terrible.
  by lensovet
 
It's definitely not required for travel by any stretch of the imagination, but sure.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone: SEPTA Key cards with the initial cost of $5 are available for sale at Center City Philadelphia
ticket offices - and in some TVM "Fare Kiosk" machines outside the "paid" area turnstiles...

When a SEPTA Key is purchased from a ticket clerk it comes in a white envelope that contains a sheet
describing the card along with the debit card option instructions that few if any riders actually use...

SEPTA ENCOURAGES riders to purchase a Key card for their travels - all pass types such as the one-day
Flex Pass and all Regional Rail Trailpasses are only available with the Key until the Smartphone app
for fare payment option is established and in use...

There is NO absolute requirement to possess a SEPTA Key for Regional Rail use - cash riders have the
unfortunately-limited option of purchasing Quick Tickets at the Center City stations and the Airport.
QT tickets are NOT valid for travel TO Center City except from the Airport Line. In all other instances
cash riders are subject to the higher on-board penalty surcharge without the possession of a SEPTA
Key with either a Travel Wallet dollar amount available or a valid pass type in use...

Riders that are 65 and older have the option to apply for a Senior Citizen Key Card that allows FREE
travel at ALL times within Pennsylvania and half-fare on Regional Rail to Zone NJ (Trenton and West
Trenton) and the four Zone 4 Delaware stations (Claymont, Wilmington, Churchman's Crossing and
Newark) on the Wilmington-Newark Line...

I will offer my own apologies if I repeated any RRD fare information that I previously posted...MACTRAXX
  by ryan92084
 
Random replies:
  • Purchasing a new card at any location is exactly how you deal with an expired card. Those specified locations can handle the transfer for you otherwise you use the website or app.
  • You need a registered card to transfer funds regardless of method afaik.
  • Forgetting to tap on/off really will only bite you if you forget to tap off coming out of the city, you aren't going to zone 4+, and the system decides to charge you the max rate. The last part is not always the case.
  • Pretty sure 30th street has sold cards since day 1.
  • Non septa retail locations never took off the way they hoped. Especially when you consider that was planned to be the primary method of distribution. Adding key sales to the outlying stations was a last minute scramble.
  • I've always found them not considering outlying stations to be a "SEPTA Sales Office" in Buy/Load Location search to cause a lot of issues.
  • Amtrak TVM comment is amusing since the Ardmore machine has been dead every time I've visited in the last year+ and Paoli gave up fixing their second machine. If you think people have an easy time using them then you haven't seen anyone new try.
I will agree that the system is not explained well online which has been a persistant issue even pre key, the newest site is a bit better but still has issues. The system is also not very friendly for infrequent/tourist riders particularly ones that are aghast at talking to the conductor, this will be somewhat alleviated by NFC payments. One of the biggest issues in the early days where the chips were regularly failing early seems to have lessened when thehy switched vendors. Otherwise, I think a lot of the complaints are largely just lack of knowledge/familiarity that comes with anything new. It is just EZpass with a card instead of a transponder after all.
  by dcipjr
 
My biggest gripe with the Key card is that it's difficult to get outside Center City. In any of the Center City stations, you can just go to one of the vending machines, order a card, and you get it right away—very convenient.

Outside Center City, you can get one at station ticketing windows, but many of those have pretty limited hours. My local station is open from 5 AM to 11 AM on weekdays only, and SEPTA is pushing to close a lot of the station ticket windows for good.

It would be a one-time inconvenience if the Key didn't expire every 3 years, but it does.

I'm really not sure why SEPTA doesn't install some vending machines at major outlying stations like Jenkintown, Glenside, etc.

A lot of this will be mitigated once they just start accepting NFC payments—which hopefully will be soon.

The rest of the Key experience is okay. The Center City stations were much better without the turnstiles, but I don't think SEPTA is going to take them out and suddenly adopt proof-of-payment at this point.
  by lensovet
 
As alluded to in the post above yours, vending machines aren't free. They cost time and money to install, run, and maintain. If the cost to do all that outweighs whatever additional revenue they bring in, why bother installing them?

As you said NFC and mobile tickets will solve this in less than a year.

I haven't interacted with an Amtrak TVM is over a decade at this point. NJT I've used more recently when my phone died or I decided to purchase a ticket for someone else, but generally I'll be using the app for 99% of my trips.
  by west point
 
MY next trrip to PHL will have me laying over for long weekend at an airport facility. That means a trip back to airport , trying to buy a ticket to center city,& finding the center city office open. Gosh how awful the many hoops to pass thru.

Am I confused? Your guess!!!
  by lensovet
 
Let me make it simple for you: just bring a card that supports tap to pay (should have a symbol with three waves on it) and pay on board. No need to buy any tickets anywhere, find any offices, or jump through any hoops.
  by MACTRAXX
 
west point wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:10 am MY next trip to PHL will have me laying over for long weekend at an airport facility. That means a trip back to airport, trying to buy a ticket to center city,& finding the center city office open. Gosh how awful the many hoops to pass thru.

Am I confused? Your guess!!!
WP: TVMs "Fare Kiosks" are available at entrances to the island platforms at PHL Airport -
Terminal A, Terminal B, Terminals C/D and Terminal E (where Airport Line trains turn) are the four stops.
The Quick Ticket fare is $6.75 one way to Center City - which will read "Adult Valid Tuesday 2/13/2024;
Origin: AIRPORT; Time of purchase; destination in large letters -CCP (Center City Philadelphia)...The QT
is inspected on the train and then used for exit at a magnetic swipe reader on top of CCP turnstiles. If
you have to make a round trip you must purchase the second ticket separately because SEPTA Quick Trip
Tickets are only valid FROM the originating station. All Center City Philadelphia stations have ticket offices
and TVMs available for QT Ticket (and Key Card) sales...

SEPTA Smartphone "KEY TIX" tickets have been available for the past 11 months (March 2023) see:
www.septa.org/fares/how-to-use-septa-key-tix/

PB: Once the NFC or mobile pay is established THEN outside credit/debit cards should be accepted...
I believe that these outside cards are going to have to be used the same as the Key Travel Wallet (tap in,
check on board by train crew, tap out) to get the lower pre-paid fare which is $6.75 from the Airport or
$8.00 on board if it is not tapped in and first "encountered" by the train crew...Examples like this one
is what makes the SEPTA Key and the entire electronic fare collection system confusing and unfriendly
to outsiders unless one has a good idea of how the system actually works...MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by JimBoylan
 
Another reason for not having working Ticket Vending Machines at train stations is the loss of On-board surcharge revenue.
  by JeffK
 
JimBoylan wrote:Another reason for not having working Ticket Vending Machines at train stations is the loss of On-board surcharge revenue.
That's more true than you might think. The amount's probably less now but at one point I read an estimate that the on-board surcharge was bringing in upwards of $1.5 million annually.
lensovet wrote:It's definitely not required for travel by any stretch of the imagination.
OF COURSE it's not required but until NFC/mobile payments are implemented paying cash costs more while QTs are limited and inconvenient. To make a partial analogy, what would happen if a supermarket charged more for cashier-staffed registers but rarely (or never) had any self-serve lines open? I've used commuter rail systems in nearly a dozen cities on three continents. All except SEPTA had readily-available TVMs or payment kiosks.
  by Head-end View
 
JimBoylan wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:19 pm Another reason for not having working Ticket Vending Machines at train stations is the loss of On-board surcharge revenue.
It still amazes me how SEPTA can legally get away with charging the on-board surcharge penalty fare to passengers who were not provided with any way to buy a ticket at the station before boarding. A real Catch-22 for sure.

The above poster's comparison to supermarket cashiers was very apt.
  by ryan92084
 
They use the it is a discount not a surcharge defense. Same with using cash at certain retailers. There is a good reason the key rate is the same as the old 10 trip rate.
  by JeffK
 
ryan92084 wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 5:21 am They use the it is a discount not a surcharge defense.
Yes, I'd forgotten how they pulled a verbal switcheroo around (IIRC) 2013. Before that the ticket-office fare was the "standard" rate with the surcharge being applied only to on-board payments. It was turned upside-down to redefine the on-board fare as "standard" with the ticket-office rate becoming "discounted".

It was also the time that peak and off-peak fares were similarly recast to be "day" and "evening", which meant midday riders now paid the same as the former peak rates.

A bit like Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass, "A word means what I want it to mean, nothing more, nothing less."
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