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Ask SEPTA: SEPTA Key is still in testing, and other questions

Every three weeks, SEPTA general manager Joe Casey addresses public transit questions submitted by Metro Philadelphia readers. This week, Casey wrote a column about upcoming projects in the near future that SEPTA has planned. Send questions to sam.newhouse@metro.us.
A woman drops a token into a SEPTA turnstile.Charles Mostoller

“Why are tokens still in use?"

Tokens, for many, are the symbol of SEPTA's decades old fare system. SEPTA is currently testing the software and equipment for the new SEPTA Key system. The successful completion of the testing phase is critical step prior to launch of the new system and its new fare products.

SEPTA continues to offer transit tokens to our customers as a fare product which offers discounts below the cash fare along with a sales network for their purchase. In addition, SEPTA will continue to accept tokens for some period of time after the new fare system rolls out on the Transit network while customers transition to the new fare payment system. You'll still be able to put a token in a vehicle farebox.

“Why is there always a hold up when pulling in to Frankford Transportation Center (FTC)? It never fails, the train pulls out of Arrott Transportation Center Heading for FTC and then we have to stop for five minutes or more and I miss my connecting bus. What is the hold-up, and who isn't doing their job? It should be a smooth transition.”

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SEPTA's Frankford Transportation Center (FTC) on the Market-Frankford Line is a stub-end operation with two tracks. This is as opposed to the Market-Frankford's line 69th Street Terminal where the trains operate in a loop around the platforms from 1 Track to Tracks 2 and 3. In the FTC stub-end operation, if something happens to cause a delay in a westbound train leaving the platform, it will result in the eastbound train having to wait outside the terminal until the westbound clears the signal and interlocking.

Market-Frankford train schedules are designed to allow trains sufficient time to enter and depart from FTC without causing these delays. However, from time to time, operational issues do occur that cause lateness and result in these types of delays. Such delays are infrequent. However, we will analyze the train movements at FTC and if necessary, make the appropriate schedule adjustments for specific trains. Thank you for contacting us about this issue.

 
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