3/25/2011

Philadelphia's Mass Transit System Gets A New Look


The overhaul of the fare payment system at Philadelphia's SEPTA has been long overdue.  The organizations outdated tokens, paper transfer slips, and tickets will be replaced with a streamline system that mirrors many 21st Century metropolitan transit systems around the world.  With riders making over 300 million trips each year, the company is sure to see steady growth and must keep up with the growing trend of young professional city dwellers considering public transit as a convenient, relatively safe and cheap means of transportation.  The system, at least in Philadelphia has began to outgrow the stigma of being a service for the poor, lower class with dilapidated smelly stations, and dangerous corridors.  SEPTA has been working hard to change its image, despite the occasional strike and budget setbacks. The New handicap accessible Market -Frankford Stations, the recent renovation process of the Broad Street stations and future plans for City Hall Station along with the new smart card system will catapult the transit agency into the realm of well connected and served transit systems around the world.




The new system allows for seamless travel across all SEPTA services and permits regional integration with other transit authorities.  Riders will be able to use bank-issued contact-less credit or debit cards, cell phones, or other contact-less devices to pay a fare.  Riders will also have the option of using prepaid cards that allow users to draw from an available balance, purchase calender passes and reload as necessary.  The underlying technology is open loop and non-proprietary to extend the benefits and convenience of day-to-day retail purchases to transit usage and enable SEPTA to integrate its network into a unified system.  It is designed to improve the customer experience, reduce the reliance on cash, and enhance data collection and processing.