Wanted: Riders to Test PATCO’s Fare Integration With SEPTA

The Delaware River Port Authority is seeking 50 commuters to troubleshoot the new joint fare system before it (hopefully) launches in August.

Photo: Jeff Fusco.

Commutes from New Jersey to Philadelphia are about to get a whole lot easier thanks to the long-promised integration of PATCO and SEPTA’s fare systems, which is expected later this summer.

Before that partnership becomes official in August (fingers crossed for no glitches), the Delaware River Port Authority is seeking 50 lucky PATCO riders to test the new joint fare system as part of a pilot program that launches on June 25th, the Courier-Post reports. If all goes well over the course of the project’s two weeks, a new PATCO Freedom card will be issued that allows for easy transfers to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, or any bus line.

The switch eliminates the need for those pesky paper transfers, which SEPTA has already begun to phase out on their end. Officials describe the new fare system as similar to the E-ZPass model used to pay tolls on our highways. Each Freedom card would be swiped or inserted at fare gates before access is granted.

“Right now we have a system that allows passengers to store value by loading an amount onto their Freedom Fare cards at one of our machines, but under the integrated system that will no longer be the case,” PATCO Hi-Speedline president John Hanson told the newspaper. “A rider who wants to use his PATCO fare card for SEPTA, too, must first buy a new Freedom card and then visit our website, where he will put money onto the card using his credit card or bank debit card accounts.”

Approximately 800 of PATCO’s 20,000 daily round-trip riders also use SEPTA to commute to work. SEPTA officials say the majority of PATCO transfers occur at the transit authority’s subway station at 8th and Market streets.

Be on the lookout for PATCO’s advertisements for participation in the pilot program, which are said to be coming soon.