SEPTA's first fare increase in three years will take effect on July 1. The changes were approved by the SEPTA Board in May.
In keeping with the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, SEPTA has adopted a policy of fare increases every three years. SEPTA has followed these guidelines by enacting fare increases in July 2007 (Fiscal Year 2008) and in July 2010 (Fiscal Year 2011), and now July 2013 to coincide with the start of Fiscal Year 2014.
The new plan contains fare adjustments for services throughout the SEPTA transit system, including the first increase to the base cash fare since 2001. As part of the effort to simplify fares and introduce an open fare payment and collection system under the New Payment Technology (NPT) program, extra-fare zone charges will be eliminated on dozens of transit routes, and there will be some consolidation of zones on regional rail. In addition, gender stickers will be eliminated on all passes for transit and regional rail.
The following are highlights of the fare increase and other related changes effective Monday:
City Transit Division
- The current cash fare for a trip on SEPTA's buses, subways and trolleys will increase from $2 to $2.25 on July 1, and then to $2.50 when the switch to NPT is complete in 2014.
- Discounted single-trip fares – tokens until NPT, then continuing with smart media payment – will be $1.80. Transfers remain $1.
- Weekly and monthly TransPasses will be $24 and $91, respectively, under both the current payment system and NPT.
- Extra fare zone charges will be eliminated on five bus routes.
- Fare structure will stay consistent with city transit division. Extra fare zone charges will be eliminated on 21 bus routes.
- An extra fare zone on the Norristown high speed Line will also be removed, with a new single cash fare of $2.75 established.
- Multiple zones will be eliminated on bus routes 123, 124, 125 and 150. Standard base fares will apply on portions of the 124 and 125 that provide local service — or trips that do not include travel on the Schuylkill Expressway — between Gulph Mills, Chesterbrook and Valley Forge, and inbound from the Wissahickon Transportation Center to center city. A new single fare of $3.75 will apply to all other trips on these buses.
- Zone 5 will be eliminated, with most stations moving to an expanded Zone 4.
- Approximately half of the current Zone 4 ridership will stay in Zone 4, with the remaining moving to an expanded Zone 3. Zone 1 will also be adjusted to include Eastwick, North Broad Street and North Philadelphia stations.
- Monthly cross county passes are replacing the intermediate monthly pass. Also, a new weekly cross county pass ($29) offers unlimited travel on any bus, trolley or regional rail train that operates outside of the city of Philadelphia.
- Fare changes for regional rail, including pricing levels for TrailPasses, 10-trip tickets and single trips, will remain in place through the implementation of NPT.
- One-day passes, including the individual Independence Pass, the family Independence Pass and the Convenience Pass, will all increase by $1.
- There will be no fare increase for CCT Paratransit trips, which will remain $4.
- Ride limits will be established for weekly and monthly TransPasses and TrailPasses. Weekly passes will allow up to 56 trips, and monthly passes 240.
- TransPasses will continue to be accepted on the airport regional rail line to accommodate Philadelphia International Airport employees until the NPT system is in place on regional rail.
SEPTA has launched a special section on its website with information about the fare changes. This includes a breakdown of all fares and related modifications that will go into effect July 1.
Through the implementation of NPT, customers can continue to pay for trips using current methods. When NPT is fully up-and-running, smart media devices will be used for transactions that now require customers to purchase fare instruments, such as tokens, magnetic-stripe passes and paper tickets.
Among the smart media payment options will be a SEPTA-branded card that will be available for purchase at all transit stations, center city regional rail hubs, SEPTA sales locations and hundreds of retail outlets throughout the region. In addition, customers will be able to use their own devices — such as compliant credit and debit cards that offer contactless payment, near field communication-enabled smartphones and smart-chip equipped identification cards, just to name a few — as part of the open fare system. Discounted fare rates will be available simply by registering these devices with SEPTA.
NPT will be implemented in several phases. The transition for customers will start next year, first on transit buses, subways and trolleys, followed by regional rail and CCT Paratransit. SEPTA will embark on a major public outreach campaign to educate customers about the new fare system prior to the launch.