SEPTA: Key Should Fully Launch by Fall 2016

Some local colleges may provide Key cards to students as part of their tuition.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

SEPTA says its long-awaited (and long-delayed) card fare payment system will finally fully launch by late fall of this y ear. A “limited” launch of SEPTA Key is also planned to take place during the summer.

SEPTA revealed the news at a City Council hearing on Tuesday. Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s general manager, said that gradually rolling out the project is a deliberate move. “The amount of change that this kind of system brings, we’ve chosen to bring it in over time,” he said.”It’s very important to break this system in carefully.”

SEPTA had previously announced that, as part of what it is calling a “soft” launch, 10,000 passengers will be able to buy a SEPTA Key card at 12 stations along the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line.

The “limited” rollout of SEPTA Key will add more locations where users can purchase the passes as well as increase the number of available passes. At some point this summer, customers will also be able to purchase “Quick Trip” passes, which are good for one ride from any transit station with turnstiles.

“Right now, we want to focus on rolling out this early adopter program and getting what we think will be very valuable feedback as we head forward to do these larger rollouts to include a larger number of our riders,” said Andrew Busch, SEPTA’s public information manager.

SEPTA Key’s full rollout is expected to take place during the autumn, right as many college students are beginning their fall semesters. SEPTA has been in communication with Temple, the Community College of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania about including payments for SEPTA Key into semester tuition.

Even the “full” launch of SEPTA Key won’t be totally complete, though. Regional Rail and CCT Connect are not expected to implement the Key system until 2017.

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