THE FUTURE IS ALMOST HERE. Our SEPTA frenemies are starting to undertake an enormous project, one that will ultimately thrust them out of their current, Chuck E. Cheese’s token-system and into the 21st century.
Plans for SEPTA’s “New Payment Technology” (yes, that’s the best name they could come up with) were announced about a year ago, and now workers have started to measure and prep subway stations for the new technology, described as a “smart card” fare system
Don’t throw out your token or gendered ID card yet, though; SEPTA is currently on step 31… out of 5,600 total, according to Paul Nussbaum of The Inquirer.
The new fare system will allow riders to use contact-less bankcards or smartphones as payment, in addition to some 1.2 million SEPTA electronic cards that will be offered once the new technology is in place. Tokens are expected to permanently phased out by early 2014, once all turnstiles and fare boxes are switched over to the modern payment system.
As for a name… SEPTA has since hired a marketing firm to brand and, er, market the new system, but we’re guessing they’ll wind up with something pedestrian like “Fast Track.”