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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Ryand-Smith
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by Ryand-Smith » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:31 am

So I just came back from a trip to DC and you know what DC does which I think would be amazing? DC lets you use cash to reload their cards on the bus! This would be a game changer since you can use your existing bus fleet to let underserved people refil cards with cash on busses which already accept cash money)

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

Post by MichaelBug » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:43 pm

Ryand-Smith wrote:So I just came back from a trip to DC and you know what DC does which I think would be amazing? DC lets you use cash to reload their cards on the bus! This would be a game changer since you can use your existing bus fleet to let underserved people refil cards with cash on busses which already accept cash money)

Even that is hardly a new technology. I visited Houston in 2010 & Houston Metro had a similar feature on their stored value fare cards even then!

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

Post by JeffersonLeeEng » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:15 am

Ryand-Smith wrote:So I just came back from a trip to DC and you know what DC does which I think would be amazing? DC lets you use cash to reload their cards on the bus! This would be a game changer since you can use your existing bus fleet to let underserved people refil cards with cash on busses which already accept cash money)
This would work if the current display system actually gave an indication of a remaining balance on the card, but alas, short-sighted as ever...

Head-end View
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by Head-end View » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:52 pm

Hmmm...........when you use your Metrocard in a New York City Subway turnstile, it tells you the remaining card balance........ Not on SEPTA?

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

Post by ChesterValley » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:26 pm

No, we have the convenience of viewing our balance on a key kiosk. Never mind that the key card units have a screen
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mbm537
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by mbm537 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:25 pm

Why is SEPTA reinventing the wheel?

I grew up in the Philly area -- Delaware County -- but have lived in NYC for 33 years. I'm shocked though not surprised that SEPTA has created an overly complicated, Rube Goldberg-ian fare collection system that is not an improvement and solves none of the inherent problems in the current system.

I wouldn't be surprised if it makes it worse.

Because of my work, I do a lot of traveling on Metro North, LIRR and NJ Transit. Every station on all three railroads has a TVM, and I have yet to encounter a broken one. In the last 2-3 years, that's partly because I don't use the TVM's anymore -- I use apps on my phone. I buy my ticket before I leave my home, and activate it when the train is pulling into the station. Takes about 30 seconds and have never run into a problem.

Why hasn't SEPTA created a phone app for buying tickets in 2019?

A number of people have brought up SEPTA'S obsession with not being cheated out of a nickel. Before 1997, MTA subways and buses had no transfers at all. When the Metro Card was introduced that year, transfers were included: once you used the card, you could transfer from subway to bus, bus to subway, or bus to bus for the next 2 hours and 18 minutes, with a limit of 2 rides. It's been working fine for 21 years now.

This does not mean that the MTA or NJ Transit is perfect; it's just not the disaster SEPTA is. Whenever I get ticked off at either of those agencies, I just take a deep breath and say to myself, "At least it's not SEPTA"

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

Post by Patrick Boylan » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:56 am

My wife lost her senior key card and has had some good luck showing her non-stripe PA driver's license. So far she's only been refused at 69th and 8th St Market St El stations 3 different times, and successfully pleaded with a few bus drivers. I admit that 2 of the 3 refusals, and 2 of the bus driver pleadings happened today, so this might be a sign of management telling cashiers and drivers to be more vigilant.

I'm sure most of you on this site agree that SEPTA's generally obsessed with penny wise and pound foolish stopping fare evasion, but don't remote tap fare machines defeat the photo senior cards? Especially at faregates, nobody looks at the photo. On vehicles does the machine even give the driver any display that shows the photo? I've never noticed any driver wanting to have seen my wife's photo before she lost the card.

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

Post by JeffK » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:53 am

mbm537 wrote:I'm shocked though not surprised that SEPTA has created an overly complicated, Rube Goldberg-ian fare collection system that is not an improvement and solves none of the inherent problems in the current system.
Aside from general failures in their development process, there apparently was never a nanogram of intention to make the Key simpler. The planners I spoke with told me there was an obsession inside 1234 with reproducing nearly every aspect of the prior crazy-quilt fare system; they were terrified that a more streamlined system would bring in less revenue. Of course the development process ended up wasting even more money, plus they built in ongoing costs of enforcement that were never an issue before (e.g. turnstiles on the RRD). Compounding that, oversights in the design did end up losing revenue streams: as I understand it, transit zones and the $1 senior charge had to be dropped because Key couldn't handle those special-case fares.
I wouldn't be surprised if it makes it worse.
It already has, especially for lower-income riders who can't easily deal with the Key's heavy reliance on internet/e-banking access and a very limited number of alternative kiosks.


Re Senior Keys: The whole photo-ID thing is yet another symptom of their over-obsession with fare evasion. My wife and I were early adopters in the second-step rollout, and in ~3 years we've never once been asked to present our mug shots for comparison.

The demand for a photo ID endlessly complicates obtaining the cards - go to a special SEPTA location or a state rep's office, getcher pic took, then wait ... and wait ... for it to arrive by snail-mail up to 6 weeks later. Contrast that with DC: I also carry a DC Metro Senior SmarTrip card for use when visiting family. Admittedly their sales locations are somewhat limited as well, but in spite of that all I had to do was present my PA driver's license, pay a small processing fee, and in TEN MINUTES had a functional card.

As I noted in earlier posts SEPTA's fixation with an ID-based card seems to run afoul of equal-access principles. PA issues its own senior transit ID cards and pays for reduced fares statewide, so how can SEPTA justify imposing much more draconian limits that effectively exclude non-locals, especially those seniors who may no longer drive? I've raised this question to both my local officials and a couple of high-profile transit people but have never gotten an answer.
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ExCon90
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by ExCon90 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:42 pm

It doesn't seem like there's going to be an answer. Maybe one day an attorney will be denied passage despite presenting a valid Pennsylvania card, and we can all follow events in the Inquirer when SEPTA gets sued.

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

Post by Patrick Boylan » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:56 pm

JeffK wrote: Re Senior Keys: The whole photo-ID thing is yet another symptom of their over-obsession with fare evasion. My wife and I were early adopters in the second-step rollout, and in ~3 years we've never once been asked to present our mug shots for comparison.
Don't you have to show your card to the conductor on the railroad? I thought that despite having faregates that conductors still check fares the old fashioned way.

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

Post by bikentransit » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:26 am

What a mess.

And in spite of the fare evasion obsession, you can get on a bus and still tell the driver you ain't got it and ride for free. Happens ALL THE TIME. The ADA faregates on the subways are heavily abused with people on the inside holding the gate open for people on the outside, or one person taps and 10 walk through. Doesn't sound like anything was solved.

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

Post by Patrick Boylan » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:50 pm

It doesn't matter if people can follow someone through the handicapped gates, at least at 69th St, where they put the handicapped gates out of the cashier's view. Non-handicapped can, and I've seen them, just jump over the gate since no one's looking to enforce.

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

Post by bikentransit » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:43 pm

Yes there's lots of gate jumping going on and little enforcement, and what enforcement gets done is futile.
The problem is just as rampant on the buses.

The real aim of Key was to cut down on lost fares on trains where conductors can't walk the cars to collect because of volume or crew size, though I've heard the FRA is now requiring all open traps to be staffed, so kind of defeats the purpose of key.

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

Post by JeffK » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:
JeffK wrote:My wife and I were early adopters in the second-step rollout, and in ~3 years we've never once been asked to present our mug shots for comparison.
Don't you have to show your card to the conductor on the railroad? I thought that despite having faregates that conductors still check fares the old fashioned way.
We've been asked to present them for validation, but unless the conductors are more eagle-eyed than I realize they never give more than a perfunctory glance. Admittedly we use the RRD much less than the transit side but on those limited occasions, the conductors have never seemed to scrutinize our pictures.
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ExCon90
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Re: SEPTA NPT card will be "SEPTA Key"?

Post by ExCon90 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:10 pm

I keep thinking that just about every problem mentioned on here could be solved with a properly designed and implemented Proof-of-Payment system. But then again, "PoP won't work in Pennsylvania ..."

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