I picked up my first SEPTA Key earlier this month. The SEPTA Key works for subways, trollies, and buses so far, but they’re not yet functional for the regional suburban trains that I take frequently.
The slow-roll launch of the SEPTA Key program has been many, many years in the making. I’m proud of some of its distinctive characteristics, namely its double function as a reloadable debit card. For kids who you want to give an allowance to, or for the many in Philadelphia who lack traditional banking options, this is a big deal. I also like that each card has an account number (I’ve scrubbed mine from this photo), and that it ties in with your SEPTA Key account online. If you lose your card, you haven’t lost whatever funds you had left on it.
I’m hoping for two things: that SEPTA Key goes live for regional train riders this summer or fall at the latest, and that Apple Pay and other NFC-equipped users can use their devices in the future rather than having to carry around the SEPTA Key card. I suspect it’ll be years more before we get the latter, but I’m hopeful about the former.
It’ll be great not to have to run to ticket windows or wait in lines for single or monthly passes—or the worst situations, where you’ve got to board a train to make it someplace, but have no ticket or cash and get reamed out by the conductor for it. There’ll soon be a modern way to pay.