Within a few months, SEPTA is expecting to bring key technology to the entire regional rail system.
They expect the big change to come in April, Phillymag.com reports.
Since things will be changing, SEPTA has already started to distribute guides throughout some stations.
The new system promises to be quick and easier than the system already in place. The new model is so streamlined, all you need to do is tap your card before getting on the train, and then tap the card after getting off the train.
If you forget to tap out, the consequences can be either severe or minor, depending on if you’re using TransPass or a Travel Wallet.
For monthly riders using a TransPass, the consequences are not as intense, SEPTA keeps track of your trips and knows how many times you’ve tapped in and out. If you missed one tap out, the system is forgiving. If you continue to forget to tap out, you will be charged a fine. It has been reported that the fine will be around $4.
Travel Wallet users will have some more severe consequences. If you fail to tap in or out, the system will not know how far you’ve gone, so you’ll be charged the most expensive fare, which comes to $6.75. This fare is the equivalent to a trip from Zone 4 to Center City, Phillymag.com reports.
Eventually, SEPTA will lock all of its Center City turnstiles; you won’t be able to exit unless you tap.
Phillymag.com reports that if you commute in Jefferson Station, a few turnstiles will be locked starting on Jan. 13, with a few unlocked exits remaining.
“We’re not locking down the station like we’ll eventually be doing,” SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch told Phillymag.com.
Busch added, “The idea is just to reinforce this for people who may not be familiar that this change is coming up.”
For now, the locked turnstiles are only at Jefferson station, but other Center City stations will be doing the same within the next few months.
In the suburbs, where there are no turnstiles, SEPTA employees will be handing out notes explaining the new process. The Travel Wallet functionality will be added to the regional rail service in April.
Although the suburbs won’t have many turnstiles, Busch said that 95 percent of regional rail commuters travel either to or from Center City, which means they will encounter a turnstile.
A fear is that the absence of turnstiles in the suburbs will give fare evaders an opportunity.
Once the rollout takes place, it was reported that conductors will not be checking every ticket on the trains like they do now. Busch says SEPTA isn’t worried about this, because there will still be randomized ticket checks.
“Conductors are good at being able to evaluate what’s going on on their train,” Busch said.
He added, “I don’t think we’re in a situation where we’re going to see more [fare evasion].”