Weirdly, SEPTA Earns Praise from the New York Times
Philadelphia is the only major city in the country that still uses subway tokens. AND YET. The New York Times compares SEPTA favorably to the mighty MTA, which runs 24/7, has MetroCards, and is mostly piss-free. The gist of the piece is that the MTA has had bad old MetroCards for 20 years now, and still can’t evolve to swipeless touch-cards.
The setback has placed New York City behind the pace of emerging contactless transit systems in cities like Chicago and even Philadelphia — where tokens have long been prevalent — burdening an already aging system with a fare card that officials say costs too much and does too little.
This makes it seem like Philly actually has contactless smartcards, debit cards, or smartphone payment options. Sure, the city is planning on switching to new payment methods beginning next fall, (with tokens being phased out by 2014) but it’s probably best to believe it when one sees it, especially given New York’s own failed projections. [New York Times]