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Septa Hopes To Begin Rollout of New Fare Collection Systems By Yearend

(A Septa test of new payment technology in August 2013.   File photo by Ian Bush)

(A Septa test of new payment technology in August 2013. File photo by Ian Bush)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Septa riders are still waiting on the agency’s long-promised plans to modernize its fare collection system.

Today, officials gave an update as part of their nearly $572-million capital budget proposal, which the board will vote on next month.

By now, bus, subway, and trolley riders were supposed to be hearing, “(Beep! Beep!) Present your fare media!” as they waved their farecards over validators that grant access to the transit system.

No tokens, no cash needed.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that has to be done before we roll it out to the public,” admitted Septa chief financial officer Richard Burnfield today, who says they are working to avoid problems seen in Chicago with that transit authority’s New Payment Technology (NPT).

“The (city) transit system will be rolled out first,” Burnfield said today, noting that it’s now expected before the end of the year.  “Once the transit system is in place, then we will move it onto the Regional Rail network.”

That’s a much bigger undertaking,  with turnstile exit gates still to be installed at the major rail hubs — and also an educational campaign to tell us how to use everything.

Septa’s budget proposal also includes funding to replace the oldest buses, trolleys, and rail cars in the system, and to make more stations accessible for the disabled.

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