• 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 JeffK
 
alewifebp wrote: Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:53 pm ... the Key seems to be such an overly complicated system compared to easier to use systems in NJ and NY.
When SEPTA was formed in the late 1960s and early 70s they inherited a patchwork of multi-option fare systems from their predecessor agencies. Over that half-century there's been tweaks to iron out some incompatibilities, but never any kind of systemwide review to come up with something truly unified and seamless, let alone equitable*.

Unfortunately that mindset carried over to the Key, which attempted to replicate wide swaths of the legacy system rather than starting with a clean slate. Several people in SEPTA's hierarchy have told me the driving reason is an almost palpable fear that any major change might disrupt existing revenue streams, making it difficult to track revenue sources and possibly reducing overall fare recovery. There's an equally-strong fear of fare leakage that's led to complex efforts to "seal" the collection process, variously criticized as "Get the last dime every single time" and other less-printable sayings.

The ultimate irony is that replicating some of the legacy revenue streams (e.g. transfers on the transit side and RRD zone charges) required a lot of extra design complexity while others like transit zone charges and RRD senior fares couldn't be reproduced at all, and the "last dime" campaign added extra costs and infrastructure in an effort to plug every conceivable fare leak. At this point it's too early to know if all of those gaps and patches have caused reduced revenue anyway. To put it the way the Scots might, the Key's turned out to be "a real haggis".

* Two examples: transfer charges that make a short trip cost more than a long one, and pass prices that can make it less expensive to pay individual transit fares than to buy a weekly card.
  by rcthompson04
 
JeffK wrote: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:54 pm
alewifebp wrote: Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:53 pm ... the Key seems to be such an overly complicated system compared to easier to use systems in NJ and NY.
When SEPTA was formed in the late 1960s and early 70s they inherited a patchwork of multi-option fare systems from their predecessor agencies. Over that half-century there's been tweaks to iron out some incompatibilities, but never any kind of systemwide review to come up with something truly unified and seamless, let alone equitable*.
Isn't this because SEPTA operates on a funny notion that it is one integrated system, but it is far from being one integrated system? Key highlights the problems with operating on that mindset when it is not the truth. For various reasons the railroad and transit divisions are under one agency, but things like Key make you wonder if the Railroad Division needs to be separated or contracted out to someone else.
  by MACTRAXX
 
MichaelBug wrote: Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:06 pm SEPTA is still mum as to whether new Key Cards will be available at staffed outlying Regional Rail ticket offices or not. If they are not, there will be quite a few irate riders on Monday, August 12th if they are not able to buy their weekly passes at their home stations.

SEPTA's Key buy/load locator shows NO places to buy/load a Key card within 4 miles of Lansdale, North Wales, or Ambler. The nearest locations to Lansdale are a small bodega in Souderton, a check cashing agency in Telford, & several convenience stores in Norristown.
MB and Everyone:

I went to both listed places in Souderton and Telford yesterday - neither one carries or has had SEPTA fare products...
The manager of Ace Cash Express in Telford told me something I found rather interesting which was that the listed venues
were all Moneygram locations - which would explain places some distance away such as in Central and North Jersey...

With the Key conversion beginning with Zone 3 and Anywhere weekly passes this coming Monday 8/12 only five days away
as of this post SEPTA needs to further clarify exactly where Key cards will be available especially if outlying station ticket
offices do not have them ready and available for sale...MACTRAXX
  by JeffersonLeeEng
 
With the Key conversion beginning with Zone 3 and Anywhere weekly passes this coming Monday 8/12 only five days away
as of this post SEPTA needs to further clarify exactly where Key cards will be available especially if outlying station ticket
offices do not have them ready and available for sale...MACTRAXX
Again, there's always deploying those mobile key kiosk truck things that go to select outlying stations...

...for 3 hours a day...

...during morning rush...

...once a year or so...
  by ChesterValley
 
JeffersonLeeEng wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:47 pm
With the Key conversion beginning with Zone 3 and Anywhere weekly passes this coming Monday 8/12 only five days away
as of this post SEPTA needs to further clarify exactly where Key cards will be available especially if outlying station ticket
offices do not have them ready and available for sale...MACTRAXX
Again, there's always deploying those mobile key kiosk truck things that go to select outlying stations...

...for 3 hours a day...

...during morning rush...

...once a year or so...
[s]uhh...They are? You got a press release or something to back that up? I've looked high and low and there is no info on that I can find[/s]

Edit: That moment when you take sarcasm seriously.
Last edited by ChesterValley on Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by JeffK
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:23 pm Isn't this because SEPTA operates on a funny notion that it is one integrated system, but it is far from being one integrated system? Key highlights the problems with operating on that mindset when it is not the truth. For various reasons the railroad and transit divisions are under one agency, but things like Key make you wonder if the Railroad Division needs to be separated or contracted out to someone else.
They need to integrate fares but keep operations more independent. Over the years it's seemed that the RRD has suffered from being treated as just another bus division ... that runs on rails ... with big steel-wheeled vehicles ... and catenary.

Even if the RRD were completely separated its fares should still be connected to the transit division. Otherwise it could be a return to the days of needing separate fare instruments for each side. A truly integrated fare system might look more like those in Paris or Berlin, where you can go from one mode to another without having to use different instruments. It's been a while since I was in Paris but IIRC the same ticket could be used on both the Métro and inlying portions of the RER. Berlin had just 3 flavors of card named like blood groups. "A" let you use pretty much anything in the inner ring of the system, "B" was the outer ring (for people who lived and worked in the 'burbs) and A+B was essentially an "anywhere" card. Sehr einfach!
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone:

This week was originally supposed to be the first week that the SEPTA Key was to be required for Zone 3 and
Anywhere weekly passes...This week Legacy passes were sold (August 12-18) and remain available for next
week (August 19-25) at the time of this post. Either SEPTA is backing down from its original conversion plan
and/or they have the pre-printed weekly pass stock and decided to sell them as they normally would...

Had the Key requirement gone into effect this week there would have been an increase in the sales of 10 trip
tickets for the two zones along with longer lines at Center City sales offices to handle more Key users.

Without the support system fully in place for the Key it is a good decision to keep Legacy passes available.
This must be a gradual conversion process over the course of some time instead of any sort of rushing to
a conclusion by the end of November 2019 for Regional Rail...MACTRAXX
  by ryan92084
 
Information is a bit old now (takes a long time for an account to get approved here) but the Trailpass phase out has been delayed. How long has it been delayed and if it extends beyond Zone 3 Weeklies is hard to say. I've been told the phase out "isn't happening", " is pushed back", and "we don't know" by various people. They did similar when the transpass phase out happened but that was only 2 weeks and billed as just being for a smoother transition.

As for the agents in the stations originally the plan was to phase them all out (either gradually or en masse) after the contract ran out mid 2021 and continue to only have suburb Key sales done by 3rd party businesses. Now with all the push back SEPTA has gotten over the phase out they will be piloting station Key sales in the coming months. Its unsure how many stations will get this treatment as I've only heard of one atm. I'm sure slower stations will still go agentless eventually.
  by JeffK
 
ryan92084 wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:54 pmIt's unsure how many stations will get this treatment as I've only heard of one atm. I'm sure slower stations will still go agentless eventually.
Of course if they hold to their plans to limit kiosks to CC and possibly a few other inlying stations, more discretionary / occasional riders will be forced to pay the on-board surcharge. :(
  by ryan92084
 
Opinions could have changed with the upcoming onboard key but onboard sales were generally considered a liability rather than an asset.
  by ExCon90
 
Their watchword was always "get the cash off the trains" but they don't seem headed in that direction.
  by rcthompson04
 
I have been watching the last two weeks and there does seem to have been an uptick in Key usage on the Regional Rail. Even if the phaseout really wasn't a phaseout, it might have had that impact.
  by jamesinclair
 
JeffK wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:39 pm
ryan92084 wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:54 pmIt's unsure how many stations will get this treatment as I've only heard of one atm. I'm sure slower stations will still go agentless eventually.
Of course if they hold to their plans to limit kiosks to CC and possibly a few other inlying stations, more discretionary / occasional riders will be forced to pay the on-board surcharge. :(
If they allow people to tap with their credit cards or cell phones - as planned - then very few riders would be hit by the surcharge.
  by JeffK
 
jamesinclair wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:31 pm If they allow people to tap with their credit cards or cell phones - as planned - then very few riders would be hit by the surcharge.
The last I heard, they dropped the idea of treating other forms of e-payment as equivalent to the Key. I.e. anyone paying via those media will be charged cash-fare prices. Apparently they want to force everyone to get a Key whether it’s practical for them or not.

But as we’ve seen with things like the flub over reload fees, they could reverse course a second time if enough people get fussed.
  by sammy2009
 
JeffK wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:06 pm
jamesinclair wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:31 pm If they allow people to tap with their credit cards or cell phones - as planned - then very few riders would be hit by the surcharge.
The last I heard, they dropped the idea of treating other forms of e-payment as equivalent to the Key. I.e. anyone paying via those media will be charged cash-fare prices. Apparently they want to force everyone to get a Key whether it’s practical for them or not.

But as we’ve seen with things like the flub over reload fees, they could reverse course a second time if enough people get fussed.
I just wish SEPTA stop being so bent about some stuff. If they know they are phasing out legacy passes and converting to KEY than what is the issue when most likely more than 85% of regional rail riders will have KEY. Having and accepting mobile payment platforms will be more freedom and accessible for the occasional rider and since you cant buy tickets or key cards at outlying stations....Cash and Mobile Payment are the only options left. With the way technology is going....SEPTA is going to be left behind in the dust...they promoted that they will have a open fare system and here it is...three years later no open fare method in sight yet.
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