Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Q: Will there be more than one type of SEPTA Key Card?

A: Yes, SEPTA will offer two types of contactless cards: a personalized card with your name imprinted on the front and an anonymous card that can be purchased instantly at Station Fare Kiosks, SEPTA Sales Locations, and external Sales outlets. The personalized card will only be available through the SEPTA Key website or the SEPTA Key Customer Service (this is not SEPTA Customer Service).

Q: Will there be a fee to get a SEPTA Key Card?

A: It will depend on the type of card you want. There is no fee to get a personalized card (the one with your name imprinted on the front). The cards that you will get at Station Fare Kiosks, SEPTA Sales Locations, and external Sales outlets will cost $4.95 to purchase. There will not be any other fees to use the SEPTA Key Card for transit and both of these Cards will be good for up to 3 years.

Q: What makes the Key Card different from the SEPTA pass I buy today?

A: First thing is technology. The new Key Cards will have contactless chips, so all you have to do is pass it across the face of the Validator to pay for your ride. Second, the same card can be used over and over again. SEPTA Key won't just be a convenient way to pay for SEPTA fares - it will be an important part of our commitment to Sustainability.

Q: Will the SEPTA Key Card offer balance protection if the card is lost or stolen?

A: Yes. Personalized cards will automatically be registered. Customers who purchased one of the anonymous cards can register for Balance Protection by contacting the SEPTA Key Customer Service Center or going to the SEPTA Key website.

Q: What is a Travel Wallet?

A: If you don't want to purchase a pass you can put money into the Travel Wallet on your SEPTA Key Card and then just pay as you travel. The benefit of the Travel Wallet is that you'll receive a discount for each ride. It's just like using a Token without all that heavy metal in your pocket or purse and certainly much better than paying cash. The Travel Wallet will also be good to pay for daily parking at SEPTA station lots.

Q: Are you changing the types of passes that I can buy?

A: No, we're not changing the types of passes offered just the form they take. You'll still be able to buy a discounted weekly or monthly pass or one of our day passes, you just won't need to get a brand new pass every day, week, or month. The SEPTA Key Card is a flexible, reloadable card that you can customize to match your travel plans. If you usually purchase a monthly pass but have plans for an extended vacation or business trip during the upcoming month, you can easily turn your SEPTA Key Card into a weekly pass and just as easily convert back to a monthly pass when you return.

Q: Are Seniors and Riders with Disabilities also getting new cards?

A: Yes, the paper Transit ID cards Seniors and Riders with Disabilities use today will be phased out under the SEPTA Key program. Seniors can either use a current PA Driver's License or PA non-Driver Photo ID or they can register for a SEPTA Key photo-ID card. The ID's issued by the State will be swiped at the turnstile and the SEPTA issued card will be tapped at the Validator. Customers eligible for the Reduced Fare Program will register for a SEPTA Key Reduced Fare photo ID. The Reduced Fare Card will be tapped at the Validator and customers will have to set up a Travel Wallet to fund their discounted fare payment. The fares for Seniors and Riders with Disabilities will not be changing just the cards they use. SEPTA has an extensive outreach program planned to provide information, answer questions, and register Seniors and Riders with Disabilities for the SEPTA Key program.

Q: Are there going to be any other new fare options?

A: Customers will be able to buy a Quick Trip good for one ride from any Transit Station with turnstiles and a fareline. The Quick Trip will only be good for use at the Station where you purchased it; it will not be good for travel on buses.

Q: I've seen new turnstiles at 13th St Station (MFL). They look almost the same but not quite - what's different?

A: The new SEPTA Key turnstiles have a swipe reader - that's something you're used to seeing - and they have a red frame with a pad called The Validator - that's new. The swipe reader will be used for current SEPTA passes, single ride Quick Trips, and one of the options that will be offered to Senior riders. The Validator will be used by customers with SEPTA Key Cards and any debit or credit card that has a contactless chip.

Q: There doesn't seem to be a slot for coins or tokens on the new turnstiles does this mean I can't use them anymore to pay my fare?

A: You're right, the new turnstiles won't accept tokens or coins but you'll still be able to use them. At the beginning of the transition, the station Fare Kiosk will accept a token to purchase a Quick Trip. At some time in the future, we will stop selling and accepting tokens but cash - coins and bills - will always be accepted at the Fare Kiosk to pay your fare.

Q: Will there still be a cashier at my station?

A: SEPTA Key is a self-serve fare purchase and payment system so we won't need a booth to collect fares. Under the new program, the Cashiers will become Customer Attendants. They will have the flexibility to walk around and assist customers inside the paid area and outside the station fareline.

Q: Is the transition to SEPTA Key going to take place all at once?

A: No, it will be a phased transition starting with Transit in 2015 followed by Regional Rail and CCT in 2016.

Latest FAQs
Q: Once implemented, will there be a reduced fare when transferring? If so, how will the transfer process work?

A: Your fare options won't be changing only your choices for how to pay using the SEPTA Key Card. Once you purchase the card you can either buy a transit product (Weekly or Monthly Pass) or you can put money into the Travel Wallet and use it to pay just as you do today with tokens and transfers. How the transfer works is simple. At the start of your trip, tap your Key Card at the Validator - that's like using a token. When you transfer, for the second part of your trip, tap your card at the farebox or turnstile Validator and the system will deduct for the transfer. Please don't forget, only valid transfers get the discount, otherwise you'll pay the full discounted fare for the second trip.

Q: On Regional Rail, will special privileges with a pass continue (such as weekend "Anywhere Pass" privileges with a Transpass).

A: Valid Trans/TrailPasses loaded on a SEPTA Key Card will continue to have Anywhere travel privileges on Regional Rail on weekends and major holiday.

Q: How will students use the SEPTA Key?

A: Eventually all current SEPTA fares will migrate over to the SEPTA Key program and there will be Student SEPTA Key Cards for secondary school children. However, student fares will not be part of the initial Transit transition. Legacy passes will continue to be accepted at the swipe reader on the old and new turnstiles and school tokens will still be accepted at old turnstiles with coin slots and at the Cashier Booth. Students will receive information and instructions about the transition to the SEPTA Key program from their school at the appropriate time. Students participating in our University Pass program will receive a Key Card to use for travel on SEPTA.

Q: How will the Family Independence Pass work?

A: The Family Independence Pass on the SEPTA Key Card will work exactly the same as the paper pass works today. One family of up to five people traveling together (one person, but no more than two, must be 18 years of age or older) will be able to use the Family Independence Pass for one day of unlimited travel. This pass will only be available for purchase from a SEPTA Sales Office - it will not be available from a Fare Kiosk. Please remember, SEPTA Key will launch on Transit first, so if your One Day Family Independence travel includes Regional Rail you'll purchase the paper pass until the transition to all modes is complete.

Q: Will the SEPTA Key work with Apple pay?

A: SEPTA is looking at all possible options that would enable a customer to use a phone (iPhone or Android device) to pay a fare. When we have more details we'll update this question.

Q: Can smart phones (NFC Technology specifically) be used to pay on transit and the railroad?

A: Yes, phones with NFC chips will be one of the options for paying a SEPTA fare but customers should be aware this will be a pay as you go transaction, which is not a discounted fare. We are still working on the details on how a customer could download a pass to their phone. Compliant bank issued cards or other cards linked to a smart phone will be able to be used to pay for a SEPTA fare provided the card is registered through the SEPTA Key Card website (not yet available to the public). More details on how this will work and how you will be able to link a SEPTA Key Card to an NFC chip enabled phone will follow at a later time.

Q: Will the TransPasses still be unlimited rides?

A: As defined in the Fare Tariff presented in public hearings and adopted in 2013, under the SEPTA Key program, all Weekly passes (Trans and Trail) will have a 56 ride limit and Monthly passes (Trans and Trail) will have a 240 ride limit. Transfers will be counted against this limit.

Q: At Fern Rock, the new turnstiles are not activated and must use the old turnstiles.

A: At this stage in the equipment installation process, you will see a mix of old and new turnstiles at stations - except for our new farelines under Dilworth Park, which have all new turnstiles. Right now, the new turnstiles are only open for exit from the platform area but at some point before we transition to the SEPTA Key Card customers will be able to use our current SEPTA magnetic stripe passes at the new turnstile swipe readers.

Q: Will you also be able to put insurance on your pass too?

A: The SEPTA Key Card program will automatically offer balance protection for customers who get the personalized card (the one with your name imprinted on the front). Key Cards purchase at a Fare Kiosk, SEPTA Sales Office, or external Sales location will need to be registered for Balance Protection by calling the SEPTA Key Customer Service Center or going to the SEPTA Key website. It's important to keep in mind that for either of the SEPTA Key Cards, only the amount of the funds in the Travel Wallet or the number of rides remaining on a Pass at the time the loss or theft is reported will have the benefit of balance protection.

Q: How will the system accommodate RideECO (former TransitChek) and other commuter benefit programs?

A: Passes, tickets and tokens will be replaced by the SEPTA Key Card. The card costs $4.95 and this cost is an eligible pre-tax expense. Your employer or third party Transportation Administer will manage your company's commuter benefit program funds through the SEPTA Key website. For those currently receiving home delivery of passes or tickets from WageWorks, Wired Commute or ADP, your preselected benefit will be added to your SEPTA Key Card each month.

Q: Once implemented, will the SEPTA Key be valid for use on PATCO?

A: SEPTA has been working with PATCO to ensure that customers who purchase and use the current Joint Fare will be able to do so when we roll out the new fare program.

Q: Will current stations that have no cashier (Ex: 31st MFL entrance), stay open longer when the SEPTA Key is implemented?

A: SEPTA Key is designed as a self-serve fare payment system that will enable customer to access the system whether or not there is a Cashier or Customer Attendant at the station.

Q: How will the system work for blind and visually impaired customers?

A: SEPTA will be reaching out to customers with disabilities to introduce them to the new Fare program, which will include travel familiarization for the new Cards and equipment. The Fare Kiosks will have labels with Braille and raised letter and an audio function (to make the machine speak) as well as a jack for audio amplification equipment to support the completion of a transaction. Customers will also be able to get information, purchase Cards, or reload fares using the SEPTA Key Website or the SEPTA Key Customer Service Center.

Q: How will Seniors access stations with no attendant present?

A: Everyone who rides SEPTA will transition to the new SEPTA Key Fare program including Senior Citizens. The current paper ID card will be phased out and Seniors will be able to ride either by using a valid PA Photo Driver License or non-Driver Photo ID or SEPTA issued SEPTA Senior Card that will have a photo. The licenses/non-driver ID's will be swiped at the farebox or turnstile reader and the SEPTA Senior Card will be tapped at the Validator.

Q: Why is SEPTA keeping the existing fare boxes on the buses and trolleys?

A: Adding the Validator to the fareboxes rather than replacing all of the existing fare equipment was determined to be a more efficient way to integrate the new fare program without inconveniencing customers. As designed, you can continue to use the swipe reader and coin/bill slots until the new equipment is ready to go into service.

Q: What will happen when a customer exceeds the ride limit while en route on the system?

A: If a customer exceeds the weekly/monthly ride limit on their pass, they would need to add funds to their Travel Wallet to continue riding at a discounted rate or pay the fare in cash (non-discounted). The 56 rides offered on a Weekly pass or the 240 rides offered on a Monthly pass will allow most SEPTA customers to take the rides they need without exceeding the trip limit.

Q: Will it be possible to punch a hole into the card for purposes such as carrying on a key ring? If kept in a holder or pouch, will it be necessary to remove it for the card to work?

A: Do not punch a hole in the SEPTA Key Card - that will damage it and you will need to purchase a new Card. The Key Cards will have contactless chip in them so you can keep it in any non-blocking RFID case/wallet/sleeve. These items can be tapped at The Validator to pay the fare without removing the Card from its holder.

Q: We've been buying tokens through your bulk order program - are they going to be discontinued anytime soon?

A: The current plan is to begin transitioning Transit to the SEPTA Key fare system in 2015. During the initial roll out and for some time after, SEPTA will continue to sell and accept tokens. We will provide advanced notice of the date when token pack and bulk sales will be discontinued. Even after we stop selling tokens, we will still accept them for payment to ride SEPTA. On buses, they will be dropped into the farebox as is done today. For the Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines, a token will be accepted at a Fare Kiosk for the purchase of a Quick Trip, which will offer a single ride from the station of purchase. Eventually, the ability to use tokens to pay to ride SEPTA will be phased out completely but not before we notify our customers of this permanent change.

Q: Some stations have no cashiers at midday? How are transfers supposed to be purchased?

A: SEPTA Key is designed as a self-serve system. This means you will be able to pre-load funds to the Travel Wallet on your Key Card to pay for your trip, just as you do today using a token or cash and a paper transfer, by tapping your card at the Validator for each part of your trip. The appropriate fare at the discounted token rate or transfer price will be applied plus the need for exact change to buy the transfer will become a thing of the past.

Q: I like the convenience of tokens they're so much easier than cards - why are you getting rid of them?

A: We know that routines are sometimes hard to change but we think you'll discover that the SEPTA Key Card will be an easy and convenient way to pay for your travel on SEPTA. One card can be used over and over just by loading/reloading funds to your Travel Wallet. There will be other benefits to the Key Card that you might want to take advantage of and we think your wallet and/or pants pocket will appreciate not being weighed down by all those tokens.

Q: When SEPTA Key launches what will I do with the tokens I already have?

A: Even after the new fare program rolls out on Transit we will continue to accept tokens for some period of time. You'll still be able to put a token in a vehicle farebox. At a Transit Station you'll be able to put the token into a Fare Kiosk to purchase a Quick Trip for a single ride from that station or you could purchase a SEPTA Key Card and put the value of your tokens in the Travel Wallet for discounted rides.

Q: What if I don't have a bank account or credit card, how will I be able to use the SEPTA Key Card?

A: You won't need either to be able to use the SEPTA Key Card. The initial card purchase, putting a Pass on the Card or putting funds in your Travel Wallet will all be possible using cash at a Fare Kiosk, SEPTA Sales Office, or external Sales location.

Q: Are the SEPTA Key Validators set up to accept an Indy Pass, or do I need to give that to the booth attendant?

A: Any SEPTA fare product that has a magnetic stripe can be swiped at both the old and new turnstiles. Current One Day Independence Passes and One Day Convenience Passes must be shown to the Operator, Cashier, or Train Conductor (Independence Pass only) for inspection and validation. Once the new fare program rolls out, you'll just tap your SEPTA Key Card, pre-loaded with a One Day Independence Pass, at the Validator.

Q: I don't ride SEPTA very often, is the Key Card going to be a declining value card or a "pass" for a set time period?

A: Depending on how you want to set up your card it could be both. The Travel Wallet feature on SEPTA Key Card will allow you to load funds and ride paying the discounted rate whenever you need to travel. You will also have the option of putting a SEPTA fare product on the card. The Weekly and Monthly Passes will continue to be valid for the designated calendar period but you could purchase a One Day Individual Independence Pass or a One Day Convenience Pass ahead of time so it's ready to use when you're ready to travel.

Q: Where will SEPTA Keys Card be available for purchase?

A: Our new fare card will be available for sale through the SEPTA Key e-commerce website, the SEPTA Key Customer Service Call Center (this is not the SEPTA Customer Service 215-580-7800 Call Center), SEPTA station Fare Kiosks (Transit and Center City Regional Rail Stations), SEPTA Sales Offices, and external Sales locations.

Q: If I have a SEPTA Key Card that has an Anywhere Pass on it, will I still need to tap the Validator at the beginning and end of my trip if I'm traveling on Regional Rail?

A: The Anywhere designation will continue to give you the flexibility to travel wherever you want throughout SEPTA but the new system will have set ride limits for all Weekly and Monthly Passes so you'll need to tap on and tap off to record each trip. If your travel takes you through any of our Center City Stations - University City, 30th Street, Suburban, Jefferson, or Temple - you will have to tap on/off at the Validator to get through the turnstiles.

Q: With the SEPTA Key prepaid debit card, will the stored fare value (Travel Wallet) be isolated from the non-SEPTA fare purchase transaction ("Cash Wallet") balance? If so, will users be able to transfer between these accounts? Then if so, can the transfer process be completed at the Transit Vending Machine, online and over the phone?

A: Yes, the Travel Wallet on your Key Card will be separate from your Retail Wallet. You will be able to add funds to your Travel Wallet or add fare products to your Key Card using either Wallet as the payment source but you won't be able to transfer funds from the Travel Wallet to the Retail Wallet. If you only have money in the Retail Wallet you'll still be able to pay for a trip on SEPTA - it just won't be a discounted fare.

Q: In the FAQ section, it is indicated that SEPTA Key Cards will be valid for up to 3 years. Will this same restriction apply to the travel wallet?

A: Yes. Once the Card reaches the imprinted expiration date, it will no longer be useable for Transit or Retail purposes. Travel Wallet funds on an expired Card can be transferred to a new Card. If you have a monthly Pass on your Key Card and the Card expires in the middle of the month you can continue to use the expired Card through the end of the month but you will not be able to reload a new Pass or add Transit Wallet value. If you have a personalized SEPTA Key Card (with your name imprinted on the front), a new card will automatically be mailed to you a few weeks before the current card expires; if you have an anonymous card (with just the 16 digit number imprinted on the front) you need to purchase a new Card and then transfer your Travel Wallet funds to the new Card.

Q: Will SEPTA release a policy addressing how (or if) all the data from the new Key fare system will be retained? Specifically, will SEPTA retain data on when/where a card, anonymous or otherwise, was used?

A: Information on Card use is traceable. When a Key Card is tapped at a Validator that transaction will be counted for ridership and fare collection purposes and customers will be able to go to the SEPTA Key website to review their transactions and travel history. If a Card is reported lost or stolen, the SEPTA Key system will be able to "hotlist" and deactivate a Card. As a general business practice, SEPTA will not track transactions on a specific Card but as an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Authority will cooperate and furnish information upon request or subpoena, to Local, State or Federal law enforcement agencies. This is an added protection for our customers and will aid law enforcement.

Q: The new turnstiles are delayed by a few seconds between the time I swipe my pass and the time it allows me to walk through. Will the processing time be faster once SEPTA Key is launched?

A: As new SEPTA Key turnstiles are installed, everything including the response time when a pass is tapped at the Validator or swiped at the reader is being tested so that we can make adjustments and enhancements to the system. We are aware that it's taking a moment longer for the new turnstiles to read and accept our current mag stripe passes. We're working to speed that process now but don't forget when we transition to SEPTA Key you won't be using the swipe reader anymore - you'll be tapping your new contactless chip card at the red Validator pad.

Q: Will the upcoming personalized Key Cards have a uniform design, or will there be a way to add your own image to the cards (i.e. a family photo, a cartoon character, etc.)? Some credit card companies give you that option and it would be nice to have a customized card with your own picture on it.

A: The two SEPTA Key Card options -- personalized and instant Cards - will have their own design identities. At this time, we do not have plans to offer a customer the option to further customize the face of a Key Card. You will be able to use any contactless chip enabled credit card at the Validators to pay for a SEPTA fare. So if your bank offers the option to customize that card you certainly can do that and use it to ride our system. You will have two payment options using a non-SEPTA Key, chip enable card - tap and pay as you go at the full fare or register that card and then load funds in a Travel Wallet or purchase a SEPTA fare product for discounted rides.

Q: Will the SEPTA Key payment system integrate with Philly Bike Share?

A: SEPTA Customers who purchase a Key Card for travel on the system will also have the option to use the card for non-travel purchases by using the MasterCard Debit feature and putting funds into a retail wallet. According to the Bike Share website, Debit and Credit Cards will be accepted for rental payment at the bike kiosks, so a Key Card with funds in the retail wallet could be used. SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia are also investigating other possible options as the Bike Share and SEPTA Key programs roll out.

Q: With the transition to SEPTA Key, will rear door boarding become an option on buses? Will there be a second validator at the back door?

A: Under the new fare program, back door loading will continue on SEPTA routes and locations where it is currently used. There won't be a second validator on surface vehicles instead Loaders will use handheld reader devices to validate fares for customers with the new SEPTA Key Card. Use of the handheld devices for bus, trolley, and trackless trolley rear door loading will be implemented in the later stages of transition to the SEPTA Key Card.