PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA held its first public information session today on new payment systems in the works that could ultimately eliminate tokens and paper transfers.

On the mezzanine level of Septa headquarters at 1234 Market Street in center city, there were charts, presentation sessions, and Septa representatives who were standing by to answer questions on the new payment technology initiative, by which riders will be able to pay fares with “contactless” (proximity) bank debit or credit cards, or cell phones.

What do Septa customers think?

“Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way it’s working now, but they say they will be saving a lot of money.  There are a lot of other things that they can be spending money on.  There are dilapidated stations all over the system,” said John D’Alessandro of center city Philadelphia.

Another man, Eugene Stiles of West Philadelphia, said, “I think it’s time that there be some kind of change, because if you don’t move with the times you’ll be left behind.”

Septa says it could take up to three years to have the new payment system fully in place.  The transit agency board has approved borrowing $175 million to pay for it, with no plans at this point to raise fares.

Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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