Ask SEPTA: Joe Casey answers your questions about the end of tokens, return of the larger Route 14 buses, and Broad Street Line service

SEPTA GM Joe Casey answers readers questions about the lifecycle of the token system. Credit: Rikard Larma.

Every three weeks, SEPTA general manager Joe Casey will address public transit questions submitted by Metro Philadelphia readers. Anything from frequency of trains to funding to cleanliness and more is fair game. Ask Casey whatever you like by emailing City Editor Christina Paciolla at, who will then forward along your queries.

Question #1 – When will SEPTA stop using tokens? Lamont McManus

Joe Casey – SEPTA has a contract with Xerox to implement a new contactless fare instrument system. Pilot testing of the system will start at the end of this year. Once we determine that the pilot is a success, the public launch will begin. We will encourage our customers to move to the new fare instruments and passengers using a SEPTA smartcard with stored value will travel on transit at the discounted token and transfer fare rates. After a significant percentage of our passengers have electronic fare cards in hand, we will start to reduce the availability and sale of tokens.We will continue to accept tokens until the new fare system is fully tested and installed on all surface vehicles and all the turnstiles and fare dispensing machines have been replaced on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines. We will give our customers plenty of advanced notice regarding when they will no longer be able to use tokens to pay their fare.

Question #2 – Why did SEPTA remove the 60-foot articulated buses from most Route 14 weekend trips, which now have severely overcrowded 40-foot buses with many standees? Nikola Sizgorich

Joe Casey – SEPTA’s fleet of articulated buses is aging. In order to assure reliability on Route 14 weekend service, articulated vehicles are presently assigned to weekend trips with the highest ridership. The good news is that a new fleet of articulated buses should begin to arrive shortly to replace the older ones. Once they arrive, we plan are to restore Route 14 service to 100% articulated bus operation.

Question #3 – The Broad street line runs fine between Walnut and Olney, but between Olney and Fernrock TC, the trains take a long time to reach FernrockTC.

Joe Casey – The Broad Street Line operates Local, Express and Ridge Spur Service. During the weekdays the Local and Express trains originate out of Fern Rock Station every 3 minutes during peak hours. The scheduled running time for a local train from Walnut Locust to Fern Rock is 23 minutes which includes 4 minutes running time from Olney to Fern Rock. As northbound trains leave Olney Station they must all merge through a series of complex switches and eight “traffic” signals which govern the safe movement of trains back into Fern Rock Station in anticipation for their next southbound trip out of Fern Rock 3 minutes after their arrival. The train may stop momentarily based on the displayed signal as it leaves Olney as it waits for trains ahead to depart the station to safely berth the train. Our Dispatch technology allows us to monitor and track every train movement and 15 minute delays are not common occurrences at Olney or anywhere along the Broad Street line. Many incidents such as equipment failures, signal or power problems or police activity could cause such a delay but the trains on the BSS are on time more than 97% of the time.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.