Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers questions about night trains and reduced fare cards
Every three weeks, SEPTA general manager Joe Casey addresses public transit questions submitted by Metro Philadelphia readers.
Question: My question is regarding Reduced Fare Cards. What is acceptable proof to show to Septa personnel aboard (trains, buses, regional rail, trolley, subways)?
Joe Casey: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has established regulations for the Reduced Transit Fare Program. Under current rules, eligible customers who have been issued a Pennsylvania Disability Transit ID Card or have a Medicare Card can travel on SEPTA for 50% of the normal fare rate by displaying either card to the Operator, Cashier or Regional Rail Train Conductor. SEPTA staff will be reminded of current reduced fare payment requirements and any future concerns which you may have can be directed to SEPTA’s Customer Service Division.
Question: Is there any plan to make improvements to the pedestrian crossing at Whitford Train Station? Currently we have to walk down a set of rickety stairs. Then we have to walk under a tunnel under pass. Now granted this tunnel has a push button that changes the light to red. This however only works in theory. The motorists do not feel it is a “real” red light. Most tend to inch their way toward the tunnel (when red light is flashing) and then proceed. This occurs even when we are walking. A car will be two feet behind you. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets struck and injured. Is there a plan to fix this, or have the local police watch and enforce the flashing red light?
Joe Casey:SEPTA has reached out to the local police on the enforcement of the flashing red light. We will also meet with the Township to see what other possible safety measures can be added and will make spot checks over the next few weeks to see if the situation improves.
Question: Is there a plan to have late night and weekend trains to all stops west of Malvern? Sometimes I stay late for dinner/drinks or go to a concert/sporting event and find that I either have to leave early or drive in just so I can get home. I can’t comprehend a public transit system that does not stop at all stops. What is the point of public transit if you can’t return to the same station that you departed?
Joe Casey:SEPTA instituted late night weekend Regional Rail trips on selected lines based on ridership potential and late evening ridership levels. The lines chosen, Paoli/Thorndale, Norristown and Trenton had the highest ridership levels in the late evening. In the case of the Paoli/Thorndale Line, ridership at the stations beyond Malvern was much lighter. While at this time there are no plans to expand late night weekend Regional Rail service, SEPTA will continue to monitor ridership on the late night weekend trains and evaluate if future adjustments are warranted.
Question: How will SEPTA's so-called "smart cards" handle transfers within the city transit division? Will the 2nd (and if necessary, 3rd) legs of a trip be charged at the full base fare? If so, it amounts to a rather sneaky fare increase. Please advise, thanks. —CK (Center City)
Joe Casey:The existing fare structure will not change with the new “smart cards.” However, customer choices for payment using the SEPTA Key Card will be changing. Once a customer purchases the card he or she can either buy a transit product (weekly or monthly pass) or put money into the Travel Wallet, which will be used just like tokens and transfers. How the transfer works is simple. At the start of your trip, tap your Key Card at the Validator. When you transfer, for the second part of your trip, tap your card at the farebox or turnstile Validator and the system will deduct for the transfer only.
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