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Despite New Technology, ‘Freedom’ Cards Will Remain Patco-Only

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(File photo provided)

(File photo provided)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Patco, the transit agency that runs the high-speed train line between Camden and Philadelphia, is getting ready to update its “Freedom” card, the cashless method for paying fares.

Septa, meanwhile, is getting ready to unveil its own system, which will reportedly allow any major credit card with a computer chip to be used to pay a fare.

Patco spokesman Tim Ireland says his agency has the same technical ability but transaction fees make it unfeasible for them to accept credit cards.

“What we really need is a regional deal with a number of large mass transit agencies, to bring the transaction costs down,” Ireland told KYW Newsradio today.

He says it would be similar to what was set up under the EZ Pass toll system for cars.

No such cooperative plan is currently in the works for mass transit, though.

New Patco Freedom cards will have those readable chips embedded, and will be phased in as older cards are replaced.   Meanwhile, both old and new style Freedom cards will work in the Patco system.

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