TransPass gender labels cause sticky situation for SEPTA

Charlene Arcila, a transgender woman, says gender stickers have forced her to use tokens.

Almost four years after Charlene Arcila accused SEPTA of preventing her from using a weekly TransPass because she did not appear to match the gender sticker, the issue has not gone away for her or the agency.

Earlier this month, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey told City Council members the issue has drawn opposition internationally, but also alluded to the fundamental problem opponents have with the policy: SEPTA has no way of determining if pass fraud is actually happening.

The agency has maintained the gender stickers are used to prevent riders from sharing passes.
SEPTA’s antiquated system, however, only allows officials to determine how often a pass is used — not whether its being shared among same-sex riders.

“I look at it as one of the tools that is in our toolbox to help the authority prevent fraud and misuse of our passes,” said SEPTA Chief Financial Officer Richard Burnfield.

Councilman Bill Greenlee is among those who question the need for gender policing. “It just seems to me it’s causing problems for people I’m sure are already having enough problems,” he said. “Unless they can really show or prove they’d lose [millions of dollars], why do this?”
SEPTA’s other response is that the stickers will be eliminated when the new fare system is implemented in three years.

But that’s not good enough for Arcila, a transgender woman who has used tokens ever since the incident.

“I feel like they’re trying to sweep it under the rug,” she said. “Once they put the smart card [system] into effect that would close the door on this case.”

HRC silence

Arcila’s complaint with the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission still hasn’t been heard because SEPTA is considered a quasi-state agency and not subject to local regulation. The commission declined comment, citing on-going investigation, but no hearings have been scheduled.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.


Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…


Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.


Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.


Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.


Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.