PATCO, SEPTA come close to a fare-sharing agreement

Charles Mostoller

More freedom may come to the PATCO fare card as early as 2016.

PATCO and SEPTA are closing in on a deal that would kick-off the first phase of a larger fare-sharing system, officials said.

Officials from both transit agencies confirmed Thursday that SEPTA would accept the PATCO Freedom Card on all of its transit lines, sometime in 2016, when it unveils its new payment system, SEPTA Key.

One Freedom Card ticket will be valid for “the initial two rides, along with the discount that they get today,” said Dennis Hiller, chief officer of ridership, revenue, advertising and sales at SEPTA. “We’re looking for better interoperability and this would be phase one.”

In a statement, PATCO officials said the two transit agencies “have worked together to develop an interoperability process that will allow PATCO Freedom Card holders to use SEPTA’s new Key fare-collection system and have the SEPTA fares deducted from their Freedom Card account.”

The Delaware River Port Authority, which runs PATCO, expects to bring this to its board for review in the months ahead, according to the statement.

Approximately 800 PATCO riders transfer to SEPTA daily, “and we feel this will be a significant and time-saving advantage for them,” according to the statement.

Miller said he couldn’t comment on whether PATCO would accept SEPTA Key on its transit lines in the near future.

In a statement, DRPA CEO John Hanson said, “We are taking one step at a time.”

“At some point in the future,” he added, “complete interoperability would be a desirable outcome.”

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