SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby andrewjw » Sun May 06, 2018 7:04 pm

This seems intentionally obtuse. Sure, the new fare payment system is no better than the old one, but 5 different ways to pay? Name them. Here are two:
* For visitors riding only a few trips, pay for a quick trip every time. As the system rolls out, they'll become more available. This puts a cap on how much one could ever imagine fares rising to because of these changes: to $2.50 per ride, no transfers. I agree that transfer elimination for visitors is irritating.
* For anyone riding for multiple days (including multi-day visitors) or making several transfers, buy a Key for $10 with $5 balance on it. Register it overnight and claim the $5 in the morning for the rest of your journeying. There is a very small sunk cost, made up for over just the next two days for those who commute daily. For those who ride infrequently, keep a low balance on the card and refill online.
What three other pricing schemes might any reasonable patron consider besides these options?
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby bikentransit » Mon May 07, 2018 6:38 am

Once key is rolled out on the trains, if you get on the train at Ambler and pay cash, how will you exit the station at Market East since it looks like one needs a key card to get out?
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby ChesterValley » Mon May 07, 2018 12:45 pm

bikentransit wrote:Once key is rolled out on the trains, if you get on the train at Ambler and pay cash, how will you exit the station at Market East since it looks like one needs a key card to get out?


I can't speak to Market East, but Suburban and 30th have key card stations on the platforms. I'm guessing the idea is to get a key card there, but I'm lost as to how the cash fare it will feed into the machine, unless SEPTA needs to change how the conductors punch out cash fares. That might be why the roll out is taking so long on regional rail's end, but then again I have no idea. Everyone I've asked in SEPTA's system has the same response, they have no idea when this will be rolled out.

I'll be honest, this new system makes no sense. The new turnstiles at 30th are absolute crap at rush hour, there is even less space to move around. I'm surprised they haven't utilized the exits at JFK Boulevard or Arch/Schuylkill ave, although I have no idea about the history of either of those exits.

Correction to 31st street it's at arch-ish Schuylkill ave.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby redarrow5591 » Mon May 07, 2018 2:40 pm

ChesterValley wrote:
bikentransit wrote:Once key is rolled out on the trains, if you get on the train at Ambler and pay cash, how will you exit the station at Market East since it looks like one needs a key card to get out?


I can't speak to Market East, but Suburban and 30th have key card stations on the platforms. I'm guessing the idea is to get a key card there, but I'm lost as to how the cash fare it will feed into the machine, unless SEPTA needs to change how the conductors punch out cash fares. That might be why the roll out is taking so long on regional rail's end, but then again I have no idea. Everyone I've asked in SEPTA's system has the same response, they have no idea when this will be rolled out.

I'll be honest, this new system makes no sense. The new turnstiles at 30th are absolute crap at rush hour, there is even less space to move around. I'm surprised they haven't utilized the exits at JFK Boulevard or Arch/Schuylkill ave, although I have no idea about the history of either of those exits.

Correction to 31st street it's at arch-ish Schuylkill ave.

At the outlying station, when you pay at the machine, it will give you a paper ticket -similar to the Quick Trip- that you use to swipe out in center city (did anyone notice that the turnstiles all have swipers on them?) I'm not certain how cash is supposed to be handled by the conductors, but eventually you won't be able to use cash on board after a certain point.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby bikentransit » Mon May 07, 2018 4:48 pm

So every station will have a ticket machine, including flag stops like Link Belt? It sounds like this won't be a uniform system where some stations the rider has to tag out on the pedestal thing, or go through a turnstile at others but there won't be any onboard cash because each station will have a fast trip machine.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby JeffK » Mon May 07, 2018 8:29 pm

andrewjw wrote:This seems intentionally obtuse. Sure, the new fare payment system is no better than the old one, but 5 different ways to pay? Name them.

I was referring to the old system: 1) tokens; 2) cash; 3-5) daily, weekly or monthly passes.

OK, the passes could technically be lumped together but the fact remained that a rider's per-trip cost could vary widely based on the instrument used and number of trips taken.

bikentransit wrote:So every station will have a ticket machine, including flag stops like Link Belt?

I asked about TVMs at a hearing last year. At least at that time, they only planned to install machines at roughly 2/3 of all stations. At the others, anyone without a Key card would have to use a third-party payment method or cash, all of which (of course) would be subject to the #$@! on-board surcharge. Left unexplained was how things would be easier for conductors who will have to handle not just cash but also credit cards, e-pay, etc.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby bikentransit » Wed May 09, 2018 11:46 am

I'm curious how cash will work. If you need a card to exit the turnstiles downtown, how will that work for cash people? Or will the conductors give them the equivalent of a quick trip card?
It sounds like fare collection is still going to be complicated for train crews.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby JeffK » Wed May 09, 2018 6:17 pm

bikentransit wrote:I'm curious how cash will work. If you need a card to exit the turnstiles downtown, how will that work for cash people? Or will the conductors give them the equivalent of a quick trip card?

That’s supposedly the case, although I haven’t heard any specifics. It could be yet another one of those "we’re still working it out" parts of the RRD implementation. :(

It sounds like fare collection is still going to be complicated for train crews.

My 2¢ is that it’ll be even more complicated. Not only will they have to handle cash, they’ll need readers for whatever form(s) of e-payment are accepted and a stash of exit tickets. Who knows how many passengers will end up needing them, but if it’s more than a small number disposal could be an issue.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby andrewjw » Wed May 09, 2018 8:25 pm

I agree that handling more forms of fare payment will be more complicated, especially with the idiotic move not to fully supply ticket machines preventing a move to PoP.
The stack of exit tickets shouldn't be harder to handle than the current disposable buy-on-board tickets.
Wouldn't be surprised if they stop handling cash.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby JeffK » Wed May 09, 2018 10:14 pm

I was thinking about the exit tickets' mag stripes, and whether they would make the paper harder to recycle.

But yes, the whole RRD implementation is what the Scots would call "a giant haggis". I’ve used bus, light rail, and commuter rail in more than a dozen cities in 8 countries. None of them seemed as poorly thought through as the Key has ended up.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby andrewjw » Wed May 09, 2018 11:25 pm

I expect the paper cards will be roughtly as difficult to recycle as, say, a Ventra ticket.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby ChesterValley » Thu May 10, 2018 10:19 am

I might just end up making a new thread specifically about turnstiles but this still pertains to the key's implementation.
http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/inga_saffron/septa-key-card-station-design-turnstiles-20180510.html

The Inquirer wrote:One reason may be that SEPTA opted for old-fashion turnstiles, rather a European-style, retractable gate system, which allows for a smoother flow. SEPTA believes turnstiles are more robust and require less maintenance. Only one turnstile per entrance will be equipped with a gate to serve people with strollers, suitcases, and disabilities.

...

Most of the time, the level of service will be rated C or D, which is considered acceptable. But it could deteriorate during a heavy rush hour, said Kevin J. O’Brien, SEPTA’s senior program manager for new payment technologies.
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu May 10, 2018 9:58 pm

CV: Interesting article with pictures about the SEPTA turnstiles at the Center City stations along
with pictures...Unfortunately subject to Philly.com's paywall...Turnstiles are part of the SEPTA Key
introduction and this should stay right here...

I note the mention about SEPTA going with turnstiles instead of new design gates to save money.

The problem place will no doubt be 30th Street - I notice how much space the turnstile line takes
up in what is a somewhat narrow access passageway to begin with - they will likely have to move
or take out altogether the benches that are adjacent to the stairways to provide more room.

This Key implementation may end up creating more problems then what the system was supposed
to solve when it comes to how it will be used on Regional Rail...MACTRAXX
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby bikentransit » Fri May 11, 2018 7:52 am

Typical SEPTA to go cheap on something. Turnstiles instead of gates will be a problem for many who travel with briefcases and luggage, not to mention bikes. The article correctly pointed out that regional rail traffic flow is much different because riders come in waves, and I can see this being a problem with trains coming in and waves of riders trying to exit while others try to enter. I'm already observing people having issues trying to refill cards at 15th street. It takes much longer than buying tokens, so I imagine the same problem will occur on regional rail, and the problem there is if you miss your train because you were fiddling with the ticket machine, it's a much longer wait for the next train.

Will the ticket office remain open? Will they sell "quick trips" like they do for the subway?
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Postby jamesinclair » Fri May 11, 2018 10:33 am

From my observation, it seems like despite being the last major US transit system to move to a modern fare system, SEPTA has managed to combine all the errors previously made.

When MBTA introduced Charlie, it was coming to Commuter Rail and Ferry "soon". It never happened due to the same questions SEPTA can't answer today, that is, how to handle cash payments and the various stops with no machines or employees. Now MBTA is looking to spend hundreds of millions on a new system that will support PoP.

This is despite the fact that SEPTA went with a better system that is supposed to work with standard contactless credit cards,a feature they have mysteriously disabled.

And the turnstiles are the same issue PATH has with their modern system. Look at the crowds trying to get off at Newark where there are 7 turnstiles and 500 riders. Even worse, it's an exit-only platform, so it makes even less sense.

SEPTA is acting like they're inventing fare payment, when there are hundreds of well-run systems around the world.
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