I’ve Been Paying for SEPTA With a Credit Card. It’s a Godsend.

Don’t have exact change for the subway? It doesn’t matter anymore!

SEPTA Quick Trip ticket

A SEPTA Quick Trip ticket for an El ride I took last month.

There’s been a little extra kick in my step recently, and when I walk outside the birds seem to be singing. There is only one thing that can explain it: I’ve been using a credit card to pay for my rides on the El and the Broad Street subway.

Late last month, SEPTA announced it had deployed “Quick Trip” tickets at select SEPTA Key kiosks on the Broad Street subway and Market-Frankford El. A Quick Trip purchase gives the rider a single ride for $2.25. What makes this different than handing a SEPTA employee two dollars and a quarter is that you can buy this trip with a credit card.

I’ve been riding SEPTA my whole life. Despite this, I never remember to bring tokens (or exact change). Before last month, my experience would’ve been like this: I duck into a corner deli, tap MAC, and then buy a soda so I’ll have $2.25 for the subway or the bus. Or, if the El stop has a token machine, I put in $20 and get 11 tokens and four nickels in return. In the worst-case scenario, I’d find myself paying $5 to get on the El. It wasn’t a great setup.

But in the last month, things have gotten easier. Instead of having to spend money to make change, I can just dip my card at a SEPTA Key machine and get a slip of paper that allows me to ride the subway. After 30 years of tokens, I feel so free.

Quick Trip cards do not give the rider a discount (they’re $2.25 versus $1.80 for a token). They also cannot be used on buses. But, in case you were just skimming above, you can finally buy a single SEPTA ride with a credit card. SEPTA completed its rollout of Quick Trip stations on September 17th; they can now be purchased at any subway or El stop.

SEPTA says a QuickTrip ticket is only valid at the station it is purchased at, and is for a single ride only (so toss it in the garbage can after you’re done). It can only be swiped at the new-style SEPTA turnstiles, and can’t be used to transfer from one mode of transit to another. Later, you’ll be able to purchase QuickTrip tickets at the 19th and 22nd Street trolley stops.

Yes, eventually we’ll be able to have reloadable cards that we can swipe for the subway, like everywhere else. But for now, this will do.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.