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

Post by Triplecap » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:30 pm

Yes you can still buy paper tickets at the windows at suburban when they are open.

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

Post by JimBoylan » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:37 pm

NorthPennLimited wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:33 pm
A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer noted the cost of implementing SEPTA Key has hit $200 million.
That’s a staggering number when you think of it in terms of return on investment.
That's why they have to charge $4.95 for the cards, eliminate tokens, unlimited ride passes, paper transfers, and 2nd retransfers. All of those increases help cover the costs.

rcthompson04
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by rcthompson04 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:33 pm

According to signs in Suburban Station, a "Tap out" trial is starting soon in Jefferson Station.

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

Post by dcipjr » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:44 am

More details on the Key rollout are in this article.

It sounds like they plan on charging a fee for people who forget to tap out.

Considering that most stations that I've seen only have a few platform validators, I can imagine that it'll be a mess with people queuing up to tap out before heading to their cars, especially in the rain.

rcthompson04
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by rcthompson04 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:40 am

dcipjr wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:44 am
More details on the Key rollout are in this article.

It sounds like they plan on charging a fee for people who forget to tap out.

Considering that most stations that I've seen only have a few platform validators, I can imagine that it'll be a mess with people queuing up to tap out before heading to their cars, especially in the rain.
Why not just charge you for zone 4 if you don't tap out on the wallet or a fee if you don't have a zone 4 pass? It would work just like the Turnpike if you lose your ticket. You get charged the max rate.

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

Post by JimBoylan » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:13 pm

They make more money with a fee than by charging the difference in fare?
How will the travel wallet work if you want to ride and have enough to cover the fare, but not the fee and the fare? Will someone with an Anywhere pass still be charged a fee?

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

Post by JeffK » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:12 pm

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:40 am
Why not just charge you for zone 4 if you don't tap out on the wallet or a fee if you don't have a zone 4 pass? It would work just like the Turnpike if you lose your ticket. You get charged the max rate.
I wouldn't consider the 2 situations to be equivalent. The Turnpike has multiple booths at every exit which limits backups even at rush hour, plus even if you're paying in cash there's protection from the weather. If e.g. 50 people regularly exit a particular train but the station has only two validators that's going to create long backups even in good weather. I don't want to think what it would be like in a December sleet storm.

Charging the max rate for errors is simply going to p-o a lot of people, especially during the system's rollout phase. IMHO a better solution is for SEPTA to offer enough validators to handle average expected loads. They should have data for boardings and alighting at most stations that would let them get reasonable estimates of demand.

What amazes me is that they apparently didn't do any serious user testing. I spent a good chunk of my career working on human/electronic system interactions; when a new system was being designed we'd often prototype things like UIs against actual user behavior. At the very least SEPTA could have simulated tap-off throughput by gathering groups of people, giving them sample cards, and seeing how smoothly everyone could get past the validators.

(FWIW I was visiting the UK a few decades back when the Royal Mint introduced a new coin denomination (20p if you care :-) . Unlike this country where the US Mint just slammed the hapless Anthony dollar into circulation only to see it fail, the British had quantities of sample coins made up in different sizes, colors, etc. Then they "borrowed" banks, supermarkets, etc. during off hours, hired people to be test customers, had them make transactions with each design, and found out which one worked the best. The first day the coins went live there were almost no glitches and within a couple of weeks they were commonplace.)
Requiem for it's/its, your/you're, than/then, less/fewer. They were once such nice words with such different meanings...

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

Post by JeffK » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:23 pm

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:40 am
Why not just charge you for zone 4 if you don't tap out on the wallet or a fee if you don't have a zone 4 pass? It would work just like the Turnpike if you lose your ticket. You get charged the max rate.
I wouldn't consider the 2 situations to be equivalent. The Turnpike has multiple booths at every exit which limits backups even at rush hour, plus even if you're paying in cash there's protection from the weather. But if e.g. 50 people regularly exit a particular train but the station has only two validators that's going to create long backups even in good weather. I don't want to think what it would be like in a December sleet storm.

Charging the max rate for errors is simply going to p-o a lot of people, especially during the rollout phase, which only adds to the Key's (well-deserved) bad rap. IMHO a better solution is for SEPTA to do the merely bleedin' obvious and offer enough validators to handle average expected loads. They should have data for boardings and alighting at most stations that would let them get reasonable estimates of demand.
JimBoylan wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:13 pm
[Will]They make more money with a fee than by charging the difference in fare?
How will the travel wallet work if you want to ride and have enough to cover the fare, but not the fee and the fare? Will someone with an Anywhere pass still be charged a fee?
Excellent points. I think we can add those questions to the OOOPS! list, along with oversights like transit zone charges, senior RRD fares, etc. that no one bothered to consider. DC Metro has Exit Fare machines at every station to cover people who overdraw their SmarTrip balance. I can't see SEPTA managing anything comparable.



Random musings: What amazes me is that they apparently didn't do any serious user testing. I spent a good chunk of my career working on human/electronic system interactions; when a new system was being designed we'd often prototype things like UIs against actual user behavior. At the very least SEPTA could have simulated tap-off throughput by gathering groups of people, giving them sample cards, and seeing how smoothly everyone could get past the validators.

FWIW I was visiting the UK a few decades back when the Royal Mint introduced a new coin denomination (20p if you care :-) . Unlike this country where the US Mint just slammed the hapless Anthony dollar into circulation only to see it fail, the British had quantities of sample coins made up in different sizes, colors, etc. Then they "borrowed" banks, supermarkets, etc. during off hours, hired people to be test customers, had them make transactions with each design, and found out which one worked the best. The first day the coins went live there were almost no glitches and within a couple of weeks they were commonplace. Nothing beats good user testing!
[/quote]
Last edited by JeffK on Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Requiem for it's/its, your/you're, than/then, less/fewer. They were once such nice words with such different meanings...

mcgrath618
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by mcgrath618 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:29 pm

I understand that many users on Railroad.net are much older than I am, and would like to clearly state this before making an observation: this is not a characterization of all old people.

That being said, the issues with the Key read heavily like a bunch of old men who rarely commute at all sat around a table, and decided that, "Something has to be done! Get rid of the tokens!" Why they didn't pull out when Xerox took over and move over to a company like Oyster boggles the mind.

R3 Passenger
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by R3 Passenger » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:58 pm

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:40 am
Why not just charge you for zone 4 if you don't tap out on the wallet or a fee if you don't have a zone 4 pass? It would work just like the Turnpike if you lose your ticket. You get charged the max rate.
The $3.75 that they are charging is the same as the fare between stations on the same RR line. So, if you have a Zone 2 pass and do not tap off, you get charged an additional $3.75 as though you were continuing past Zone 2 to the end of the line, whether it is a Zone 3, 4, or NJ.

Reading back on my above comment, how does that work if it is a Zone 3 pass? Is the time of day and direction taken into account? Zone 3 passes have anywhere status outside of rush hour peak direction.
dcipjr wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:44 am
Considering that most stations that I've seen only have a few platform validators, I can imagine that it'll be a mess with people queuing up to tap out before heading to their cars, especially in the rain.
It appears that SEPTA placed a ride validator at each entrance/exit to the station platform. But, one validator at each stairway/break in the fence is woefully inadequate. There should be one on each side of the entrance/exit to help expedite the crowds. The parking lot is already a free-for-all without people stopping to close trips since everyone is rushing to be the first one out.

Also, it appears that the parking validators can also open and close trips at the stations. I think I will try using that tonight.
Lines Frequented: SEPTA Trenton Line, West Trenton Line, Warminster Line; NJT Northeast Corridor Amtrak Northeast Corridor (PHL-NYP).

rcthompson04
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by rcthompson04 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:40 pm

R3 Passenger wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:58 pm
rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:40 am
Why not just charge you for zone 4 if you don't tap out on the wallet or a fee if you don't have a zone 4 pass? It would work just like the Turnpike if you lose your ticket. You get charged the max rate.
The $3.75 that they are charging is the same as the fare between stations on the same RR line. So, if you have a Zone 2 pass and do not tap off, you get charged an additional $3.75 as though you were continuing past Zone 2 to the end of the line, whether it is a Zone 3, 4, or NJ.

Reading back on my above comment, how does that work if it is a Zone 3 pass? Is the time of day and direction taken into account? Zone 3 passes have anywhere status outside of rush hour peak direction.
dcipjr wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:44 am
Considering that most stations that I've seen only have a few platform validators, I can imagine that it'll be a mess with people queuing up to tap out before heading to their cars, especially in the rain.
It appears that SEPTA placed a ride validator at each entrance/exit to the station platform. But, one validator at each stairway/break in the fence is woefully inadequate. There should be one on each side of the entrance/exit to help expedite the crowds. The parking lot is already a free-for-all without people stopping to close trips since everyone is rushing to be the first one out.

Also, it appears that the parking validators can also open and close trips at the stations. I think I will try using that tonight.
I tap on the opposite side in the evening because I have to walk by several of them on the outbound platform. It works, but not something I think most will think of initially.

I am dumbfounded by requiring people to tap out on the outbound side if they have a pass. Just don’t make Zone 2 passes work in Zone 4 for example. Unless you are on a train that serves one zone it is impossible to aggressively track zones with legacy passes.

BuddCar711
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by BuddCar711 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:40 am

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:40 pm
I am dumbfounded by requiring people to tap out on the outbound side if they have a pass. Just don’t make Zone 2 passes work in Zone 4 for example. Unless you are on a train that serves one zone it is impossible to aggressively track zones with legacy passes.
Well conductors seem to have no problems tracking zones with legacy passes (even during off-peak).

R3 Passenger
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by R3 Passenger » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:45 am

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:40 pm
I am dumbfounded by requiring people to tap out on the outbound side if they have a pass. Just don’t make Zone 2 passes work in Zone 4 for example. Unless you are on a train that serves one zone it is impossible to aggressively track zones with legacy passes.
Legacy passes are able to be visually inspected easily by the conductors and ACs. The Key cards require a scan, if the scanners are working.

As for the tapping off, I have been doing it since the beginning of the year. The other regulars ask me about why I do it, and so I explain. They started tapping as well.

I have not been tapping off only just to get myself in the habit. I am tapping in the hopes that SEPTA will use the timestamp to observe OTP for the specific trains I ride. But, that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
Lines Frequented: SEPTA Trenton Line, West Trenton Line, Warminster Line; NJT Northeast Corridor Amtrak Northeast Corridor (PHL-NYP).

rcthompson04
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by rcthompson04 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:16 am

BuddCar711 wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:40 am
rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:40 pm
I am dumbfounded by requiring people to tap out on the outbound side if they have a pass. Just don’t make Zone 2 passes work in Zone 4 for example. Unless you are on a train that serves one zone it is impossible to aggressively track zones with legacy passes.
Well conductors seem to have no problems tracking zones with legacy passes (even during off-peak).
I agree on off-peak it is easier to visually inspect, but on most crowded evening trains such inspections are not happening with even legacy passes. My point of reference might be bad though as almost every evening rush hour train I take have numerous people standing. Fare inspection seems to be stronger on inbound trains from my experience, which probably deters people from buying a zone 3 pass and using it in zone 4 every day.

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

Post by ChesterValley » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:54 am

Assuming that these systems come fully online and we remove the fare inspectors at 30th and Suburban,

What happens when someone pays a round trip cash fair inbound to a Center City Station?

Why are there no key units installed along the R5? I realize I ask this every 6 months or so but it still is patently absurd.

The latest tariff states that once the Key system goes completely online tickets will no longer be sold...so where does this leave outbound ticket offices? Are they gonna have key units installed in there or what exactly? Are they just gonna be open once a month for the parking passes?

From an operations perspective, are these systems actually ready or is this another case of "fix it in production?"

One last thing that's been bugging me for quite a while...What happens when has SEPTA a breach? This system is linked to your credit card...and shows where and when you tap in and tap out making a map of your habits over the course of the key cards life. Are there mechanisms in place ensuring minimizing damage when a breach happens?
The Scheduled 11:30 R5 Local to Malvern Next To Arrive on track 4 Section B

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