By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new program being launched Tuesday will allow employees of three businesses in Philadelphia to receive free SEPTA Key passes from their employer. SEPTA says the institutional pass program, SEPTA Key Advantage, is aimed at increasing ridership across the public transportation system.

SEPTA says in phase one of the program, Drexel University, Penn Medicine, and Wawa stores in the city will buy passes at $140 each and distribute them to 15,000 employees across the three employers.

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“SEPTA is thrilled to launch this exciting new program, which will provide real benefits for people working in our city and region,” SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards said. “This has the potential to provide a significant boost in ridership, which is critical to ensuring that SEPTA can sustain and grow service as we recover from the pandemic.”

Drexel, Penn Medicine and Wawa will provide their employees with information about how to sign up for the program soon, according to SEPTA. SEPTA says employees who use the program can either use their current SEPTA Key card or get a new one.

The SEPTA Key Advantage pass can be used across the system and will be automatically reloaded each month during the program.

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The passes will be able to be used beginning on May 1.

Phase one of the program will last six months.

SEPTA says it hopes to expand the program after six months to a large net of employers in the city.

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According to the transportation authority, a public hearing on a tariff change and vote by the board is expected at some point in the spring.