Literalman wrote:I gathered from this forum that the reason regional rail is free and not half price for seniors might be due to problems with the fare system.
My understanding from a couple of different sources is that senior travel is free because SEPTA either decided against - or quite possibly overlooked - equipping senior Keys with a stored-value option. However that doesn't take into account how half-fares for out of state trips will be collected and recorded. I've only used my card w/in PA so I can't say how those fares are collected, but I'd guess it's still being done the old-fashioned way. By comparison, I also have a DC Metro Senior SmarTrip card that carries a stored value just like standard SmarTrips and half-fares are collected just like standard fares *.
Senior Keys have another looming limitation: SEPTA decided that stopping fare leakage takes precedence over rider convenience and no longer accepts Medicare cards or state-issued senior ID cards as proof of age. Fareboxes only accept either Senior Keys or mag-stripe PA drivers' licenses, so if you're from out of the area and can't get a card at 1234 you're stuck paying the on-board cash fare - which also includes a surcharge penalty. Beyond that, PA will be phasing out its mag-stripe licenses so by ~2020 anyone without a Senior Key will be out of luck. That could have legal implications because senior rides are funded at the state level; restricting fares to local residents or those able to get to 1234 during business hours might be seen as unequal access.
* All things considered I'm more than happy to benefit from SEPTA's fumbles. My understanding is that another "OOOOPS!" is behind the elimination of zone fares and surcharges on suburban transit vehicles; collecting nonstandard fares would require riders to validate their cards on exiting as well as boarding and SEPTA didn't have a practical way to add exit validation to buses, subways, etc.
Requiem for it's/its, your/you're, than/then, less/fewer. They were once such nice words with such different meanings...