SEPTA aims for equity, efficiency with new fare proposals

Kim Glovas
March 11, 2020 - 1:13 pm

Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA is proposing several changes to the fare structure for next year. SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards says the changes are designed to save commuters time and money and make the system more fair for low-income riders.

"Under the proposal, children ages 5 through 11 would ride on transit and regional rail for just $1," SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards said. "That's a big discount over current fares, where they pay full price on transit and half on regional rail."

In addition, SEPTA is introducing a new three-day, 72-hour pass. 

Another change: Riders using SEPTA Key, their smart fare card, will be able to make one free transfer per ride. Cash riders would continue to pay the transfer fee.

Daniel Trubman of 5th Square, an organization in Philadelphia working for better transportation, says this incentive to transfer between would not just be good for riders.

"Getting people to go from long meandering buses to transfer benefits SEPTA, too, operationally. It also allows SEPTA to design a better, more efficient system," Trubman said.

"Instead of take a bus to a train, people were encouraged to take a longer bus. That took much longer, which is bad for riders, because they end up using more of their time."

SEPTA 2021 fare restructuring proposal highlights

Cash rides would remain $2.50 under the new rules, but SEPTA Key users would also pay $2.50 for a single ride, up from the now-discounted $2. 

The agency will host 10 public hearings on the proposed changes, running April 20 through April 27.

SEPTA customer scenarios