SEPTA Key transit card system set to launch Monday

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Philadelphia's transit system is poised to launch a new fare system that some say is one of the most sophisticated open pay systems of its kind. (WPVI)

SEPTA is taking steps to bring public transportation in the Philadelphia area into the 21st century.

The agency is getting ready to ditch the tokens in favor of reusable, and refillable transit cards.

The long awaited SEPTA Key will begin its public rollout on Monday, and customers are already looking forward to getting one. Up to 10,000 riders will have that opportunity with the purchase of their weekly or monthly TransPass at select locations.

SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel explains, "This is really EZPass that you're experiencing in your car, coming to transit."

In the concourse under Dilworth Plaza, Knueppel demonstrated the ease with which riders can move through kiosks with contactless cards.

The passes are valid for travel on subway lines, city and suburban bus routes and trolleys. Regional Rail and CCT Paratransit will be included in a later phase.

If your card is lost and stolen, there's the ability to replace it.

This program starts Monday at 6 a.m. and the key cards will be available at fare kiosks at 12 stations and the SEPTA sales office on 1234 Market Street.

The original target date was December 2013, but delays cropped up with the complexity of this undertaking, developing the right software, identifying bugs, and working to make travel seamless across all of SEPTA's modes of transportation.

Knueppel says, "We have a lot of modes, and working to make that seamless nature across all those modes has definitely made it complicated."

To help riders with the transition, customer ambassadors will be positioned to answer questions. Call boxes are also set up that connect back to managers at zone offices.

SEPTA will be watching closely. They hope to add more features as the year goes on.

Transit customers not part of program will continue to pay fare exactly as you do now.

You can learn more about the SEPTA Key card here.
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