SEPTA gets closer to open fare system

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority expects to award a contract this month for an electronic fare payment system, according to The Inquirer. The $100 million system will allow customers to pay their fares by tapping SEPTA smart cards or bank-issued contactless credit or debit cards on an electronic reader. The system will be designed to accept payment by cell phone in the future. The agency has yet to resolve the fare collection challenges for Regional Rail; options include installing turnstiles at center city stations. SEPTA will become the first major rail system in the U.S. to introduce an open fare system, which has some observers worried. “My concern with being the innovator is that you risk becoming the prototype that reveals the bugs,” said Joseph Hacker, a transportation planner at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. But SEPTA officials are prepared, said John McGee, SEPTA’s chief officer of new payment technologies. “Our hope is to minimize the change for our riders,” he said. Link to full story in The Philadelphia Enquirer.

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