SEPTA awards contract to modernize fare system

November 17, 2011 7:03:27 PM PST
The public transit agency serving the Philadelphia area is getting a long-awaited upgrade to its fare-collection system.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on Thursday awarded a contract worth nearly $130 million to eliminate the agency's outdated use of tokens, tickets and passes.

ACS Transport Solutions Group of Columbia, Md., will create a new system in which passengers can wave "smart cards" at electronic turnstiles. Riders will also be able to pay fares with their debit and credit cards and, eventually, smart phones.

SEPTA officials say bus and trolley riders will be the first to use the new system, followed by subway passengers. The regional rail network will be the last to go online.

The new system is expected to be fully implemented within three years.