A TO­KEN OF AP­PRE­CI­A­TION

SEPTA, RID­ERS READY TO EN­TER KEY CARD ERA

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kath­leen E. Carey kcarey@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @dt­busi­ness on Twit­ter

As SEPTA was pre­par­ing to phase out the sale of to­kens to most cus­tomers, com­muters pon­dered the pros and cons of switch­ing over to the SEPTA Key Card.

As of to­day, sales of to­kens will not be read­ily avail­able, al­though peo­ple can con­tinue to use to­kens for the fore­see­able fu­ture. With the roll­out in Jan­uary, the Key Card al­lows for con­tact­less ac­cess to buses, track­less trol­leys, trol­leys, the high speed line, the Mar­ket Frank­ford and Broad Street lines and some Re­gional Rail fa­cil­i­ties.

SEPTA an­tic­i­pates that the Key Card will even­tu­ally cover all travel pos­si­bil­i­ties through its sys­tem. Rid­ers can pur­chase cards for a $10 min­i­mum at the 69th Street Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter and 1234 Mar­ket St. in Philadel­phia.

Rid­ers will pass their Key Card over the Val­ida­tor screen at the sta­tions to gain ac­cess to their train or bus. It can also be reg­is­tered through SEPTA for loss and theft pur­poses.

Any­one with ques­tions is asked to con­tact the Key Cus­tomer Call Cen­ter at 855-567-3782 or to visit sep­takey.org.

The Key Card, which has a chip, will re­place Weekly and Monthly Tran­sPasses and the One Day Con­ve­nience Pass.

Start­ing May 4, the Key Card will cost $4.95 and trans­fers are not be­ing elim­i­nated yet. SEPTA is work­ing to cre­ate a photo card for CCT cus­tomers, those with dis­abil­i­ties and se­nior cit­i­zens that will serve as their fare card.

Ce­cile Charl­ton, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Delaware County Trans­porta­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, said she has seen a good re­cep­tion from her mem­bers.

“Peo­ple are very ex­cited about the card be­cause it takes away the ques­tion of ‘How much do I pay?’” she said. “They’re so used to us­ing E-ZPass, it’s kind of like the same thing.”

In Septem­ber, her organization, along with SEPTA and the county Plan­ning Department, hosted a visit from the SEPTA Key Card truck at the Delaware County court­house. For three hours, SEPTA and TMA of­fi­cials were avail­able to demon­strate how to use the card and the pub­lic was wel­come to pur­chase the cards right there, rather than finding a SEPTA lo­ca­tion that sells one.

Charl­ton says she can still ar­range for vis­its from the SEPTA truck.

“For busi­nesses, we can bring a Key Card truck,” she ex­plained.

Charl­ton said she an­tic­i­pated that the Key Card would pos­i­tively in­flu­ence the use of pub­lic tran­sit.

“When­ever you take away that fear fac­tor, it’s an­other level of com­fort of tak­ing it,” she said.

At least one com­muter us­ing the 69th Street ter­mi­nal last week agreed with Charl­ton’s as­sess­ment.

“I like the Key Card,” Char­maine Williams of Philadel­phia said. “I don’t have to stop and get to­kens, I like the Key Card.”

She said she uses SEPTA “ev­ery day, seven days a week.”

Oth­ers were a lit­tle more hes­i­tant about the new tech­nol­ogy.

“It’s kinda dumb,” Trin­ity

“When I go to pay cash in my card, it doesn’t work and it gives me a green card. Then, I end up pay­ing twice of what I’m sup­posed to pay … It costs me more. It doesn’t take cash – in some machines. I don’t know about all machines. I know the one in Darby, it’s done it to me three times.”

— Kim Fra­zier of Darby Bor­ough

Blem­ings said, “be­cause, some­times, I don’t use my pass ev­ery day. You pay more money if you’re not us­ing it.”

She said she uses SEPTA as her ma­jor mode of trans­porta­tion to get to work, school and any­where she needs to go.

“To­kens, I can just buy what I need for the week with­out spend­ing ex­tra money on some­thing I don’t need,” Blem­ings said.

Kim Fra­zier of Darby Bor­ough said she had a few dif­fi­cul­ties in try­ing to get the card at the Darby Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter.

“When I go to pay cash in my card, it doesn’t work and it gives me a green card,” she said. “Then, I end up pay­ing twice of what I’m sup­posed to pay … It costs me more. It doesn’t take cash – in some machines. I don’t know about all machines. I know the one in Darby, it’s done it to me three times.”

The dis­abled woman ex­plained that she uses SEPTA to visit her di­a­betic hus­band at Mercy Fitzger­ald Hos­pi­tal, where he re­cently had his toe am­pu­tated.

“I live on Main Street,” Fra­zier ex­plained. “I take the trol­ley down, then get on the 113. That’s au­to­mat­i­cally $2.25 and an­other dol­lar. It should cost me $1.25 and then 50 cent.”

She said she called SEPTA and was told the money can’t be re­funded to her card, al­though they were will­ing to send her a check in the mail.

“My hus­band was in the hos­pi­tal and I was like, ‘What am I go­ing to do?’” she asked. “This is crazy.”

The grand­mom uses SEPTA to also travel to the Hos­pi­tal of the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia where she re­ceives her pain man­age­ment.

“I’m back and forth all over,” she said. “I just got my in­jec­tions in my back to­day and thank God, my next door neigh­bor was here and she said she’ll take me home.”

Ja­son Otis of Drexel Hill said he found the process per­plex­ing.

“It made it a lit­tle more con­fus­ing, didn’t it?” he asked.

On a spe­cial day out with his 8-year-old daugh­ter, Otis was try­ing to nav­i­gate the sys­tem.

“I was just over there,” he said, point­ing to the cus­tomer win­dows inside the 69th Street sta­tion. “I said, ‘Do I need a sin­gle? … I grew up in New York. I was like, ‘Can’t I just get a MetroCard?’ (Key Cards) make it more com­pli­cated.”

MetroCards have been in use in New York City since the early 1990s and cover all sub­way and bus lines. Cus­tomers also load money onto them elec­tron­i­cally from machines in sta­tions.

“In high school, we would get them,” Otis said of the MetroCards. “It seemed less com­pli­cated than hav­ing a hun­dred dif­fer­ent ones. I think now, you can’t even buy sin­gles, you have to buy a $10 card ev­ery time … I’d rather buy a $10 card right now for me and her.”

He said he was at­tempt­ing to show his daugh­ter how to use it.

“I try to teach her and she has no idea what’s even hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Otis, who uses the SEPTA sys­tem five to six times a month, said he’s not yet been able to use a Key Card on a bus.

“You still need to buy bus trans­fers and, again, that’s an­other level of com­plex­ity,” he said. “When I’m get­ting back on the train, I have to give the guy a dol­lar for the bus trans­fer.”

Otis said the cards may have the tech­nol­ogy to in­clude buses but at this time, it was mak­ing the ex­pe­di­tion with his daugh­ter a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult.

“The Key Cards might be smart enough to do that but for a sin­gle pas­sen­ger, it’s just an­other level of con­fu­sion,” he said.

SEPTA will con­tinue to sell the to­kens in bulk to cer­tain so­cial ser­vice agen­cies past the April 30 dead­line and CCT Para­tran­sit cus­tomers can con­tinue to buy to­kens at Cen­ter City sales lo­ca­tions with a valid SEPTA CCT iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card.

SEPTA an­tic­i­pates that the Key Card will even­tu­ally cover all travel pos­si­bil­i­ties through its sys­tem. Rid­ers can pur­chase cards for a $10 min­i­mum at the 69th Street Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter and 1234 Mar­ket St. in Philadel­phia.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

A SEPTA em­ployee an­swers ques­tions about the key card to com­muters at the 69th Street Ter­mi­nal.

PHOTO COURTESEY OF SEPTA

The SEPTA Key Card al­lows for con­tact­less ac­cess to buses, track­less trol­leys, trol­leys, the high speed line, the Mar­ket Frank­ford and Broad Street lines and some Re­gional Rail fa­cil­i­ties.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Kim Fra­zier of Darby Bor­ough stands near the 69th Street Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter. She says to­kens worked bet­ter for her than the SEPTA key card.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

SEPTA rail rid­ers wait to board an ar­riv­ing train in this file photo. SEPTA rid­ers are say­ing good­bye to the old standby to­kens as the tran­sit agency moves into smart card tech­nol­ogy.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Com­muters go through the turn­stiles at 69th Street Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter. SEPTA is in the process of phas­ing out to­kens in ex­change for smart key tech­nol­ogy.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

A woman puts her card through the reader at 69th Street Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter. On Mon­day, com­muters will still be able to use to­kens but they will no longer be sold.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ja­son Otis of Drexel Hill and his daugh­ter, Layla, spend a day to­gether. He said the key card is more con­ve­nient when it comes to rav­el­ing on SEPTA.

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