The rollout of SEPTA's "new payment technology" or NPT has been one of the longest hellos in recent history, but it might soon be coming to an end.

That is, SEPTA riders can expect to start using the smart cards starting in April 2016 — or, rather, they might if the mass transit juggernaut finally gets its act together. Bear in mind that the agency has promised riders the so-called "contactless" fare cards multiple times in the past; and each time, SEPTA has delayed the launch.

SEPTA Key Project Manager Kevin O’Brien told PlanPhilly the system ought to be in place this spring.

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Passyunk Post encapsulated the general malaise Philadelphians have surrounding the SEPTA Key system when it explained that "the date obviously has kept being pushed back, so forgive us our skepticism about when SEPTA will finally take this step" but that "once it happens, we’ll be totally on board."

The SEPTA Key will work like smart card systems in other cities.

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SEPTA explained that, once the system is actually up and running, riders can choose either " a personalized card with your name imprinted on the front [or] an anonymous card that can be purchased instantly at Station Fare Kiosks, SEPTA Sales Locations and external Sales outlets."

The cards can be reloaded either with custom cash amounts, replacing tokens entirely, or via purchasing daily, weekly or monthly passes.