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SEPTA Wants Feedback On Proposed High-Tech Payment System

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA is hitting the road to ask riders what they think about a new system for collecting fares.

The transit agency unveiled a new, narrated PowerPoint presentation Thursday that outlines plans to give riders a chance to use a variety of electronic means to pay their fares in the future.

“What we are hoping to do with this project is to frankly leap frog most of the other cities in the United States, if not the world, in terms of technology,” SEPTA’s Richard Maloney said.

Specifically, SEPTA is preparing to move ahead to upgrade equipment and buy some new equipment to let riders pay their fares with so-called contact-less bank debit or credit cards or cell phones.

The system will still accept cash, officials agreed, but there may come a time — years from now — when even that might change.

SEPTA hopes to roll out the technology in the next two-and-a-half to three years.

Right now, it’s looking to gather public input on its plan as it also studies the technology being offered by vendors to accomplish the task.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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  • P. Ruiz

    In Puerto Rico, debit or credit cards are not used in buses to pay. We either use cash or plastic cards, where people add money on it. You can add balance by either using cash, or debit/credit cards in the machine tellers in the different stations. I believe that this way of paying is safer that using directly the debit/credit crards. The con would be if the person misplace the plastic card… besides this, the system is ok.

  • DMD

    I believe SEPTA has their priorities a little mixed up. The current problems have little to do with fare payments. How about the PA system on the trains, the dirty floors and the ripped up seats, the poor temperature control in the train cars. There was a recent fare hike, but riders have not seen any new value. I have yet to see one of the supposed new trains cars. It has been evident for years that whoever is running the show at SEPTA needs vitamins or something, because this is a ridiculous idea that hardly improves transit in PHiladlephia.

  • diogenes

    I agree with most comments above. First, fix the bus drivers who ignore “stop requested” signals to carry riders blocks past their destination just because its late or they have a headache. I’m really tired of this since I am disabled.

  • Omar Crafton

    I ride septa everyday. What’s wrong with the current system.? If it aint broke don’t fix it. How will it make the company more profitable? I know this will cost a large investment, is it worth the time, money , and energy? How will it improve customer service? Will it stop bus drivers from riding pass me, or closing the door in my face in the freezing weather when the bus is not full.? Don’t think so. You want more people to ride septa invest in customer service training for your employees. I already know what’s going on, all this new technology comes out and now its time to change everything, no , that’s not always the best option. Whoever the vendor is , is doing nothing but trying to increase their bottom line and make sales, Septa is just a targeted client, after they close on Septa, they on to the next customer. My suggestion is to fix and improve on your current problems (whatever complaints Septa recieves the most) , rather than create new ones. It’s sounds like septa just wants to be ahead of other cities , who cares about other cities, always trying to compete and compare to others, im my opinion, who cares about the other cities, lets just focus on Philly and its customers. If yall want to add more payment options, why cant’ I use my debit card and buy a transpass at the Walnut-Locust station? You have token vending machines, What about transpass vending machines?

  • joseph gichia

    the technology has ben in use in Africa for almost 5 years. people use cell phones to text money upto $1000 ,can be used to or purchase shopping at the point of sale after your goods have been run upor u have run up your goods, can text some one money in another city or if a friend went shopping and got stranded at the counter due to lack of enough funds ,some one can text them money as they stand at the point of sale. anyway , whether we like it or not , the technology will still come around although we are way far behind in the implementation of 21st century technology.

  • Philly

    I think it’s a great idea to be able to pay with credit card or cell phone or ebt card for those on public assistance. it’s a great idea

  • M.

    Why not just use the same top-up system used by ALL OTHER MAJOR transit carriers. Riders understand how these systems work, as will tourists. Moreover, it makes it easier for casual or infrequent users to purchase a fare and ride without making a larger commitment. It also doesn’t exclude those who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards.

    I strongly suspect that someone at SEPTA has a stake in or ties to the company promoting this technology. The current system reads magnetic/strip cards and could be easily adapted to a top-up system. Why invest in an unnecessary and confusing system?

  • VietVet

    SEPTA, Comcast, and Verizon all think the same way. Get as many NEW customers as possible and then tell them to go pound sand. Once they get your money … well, there’s a sucker born every minute.

  • Joe Goob

    The first question that should be asked… Can SEPTA do this without needing millions and millions of more dollars from the taxpayers?

  • Stephanie Patterson

    Sorry – but Septa’s priorities are misplaced. Instead of spending money on something that “might” work, FIX THE CURRENT EQUIPMENT! Paying with credit or debit cards is NOT safe. Nor is it particularly intelligent when Septa is involved.

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