SEPTA expands Key program to Temple Regional Rail station

The public transport company installed Key kiosks and turnstiles to the station.

Commuters wait on the platform after either swiping in with a SEPTA Key or purchasing tickets at the counter downstairs at Temple University Station. | MATTHEW ALTEA / THE TEMPLE NEWS

A new program will bring the SEPTA Key to Temple University’s Regional Rail station — including physical and technical changes.

Select customers were able to use the Key on SEPTA’s Regional Rail service starting Aug. 1, and will be available for everyone starting in September. The Key has been available for SEPTA’s transit services, which consists of the city’s subway lines, trolleys and bus loops, since February 2017.

Currently, the only fare option for the Key on Regional Rail is a monthly TrailPass, though there are plans to integrate the reloadable travel wallet feature of the Key into Regional Rail.

The Key Card is reusable, reloadable and valid for three years before it needs to be replaced.

“That means no more paper passes and no more worrying about finding exact change or having tokens,” wrote Leslie Hickman, SEPTA’s Chief Officer of Revenue Operations in an email to The Temple News.

Temple’s station, along with other Center City stations, have been redesigned for the Key pilot program. Changes to the station include added Key Card kiosks and turnstiles that are intended to enable riders to swipe in easily at their starting station and out at their destination.

The current testing period will continue into the fall while SEPTA assesses the program’s success.

“Sometime this fall we would look to expand to other zones,” SEPTA Chief Press Officer Andrew Busch said. “The intention is to keep it moving along but we want to get some data back from the pilot testing.”

SEPTA will roll out features for Regional Rail Key gradually, as it did for its transit system to avoid customer confusion, Busch said.

Some Temple students question the efficiency of the Key after participating in the current Regional Rail testing.

“The machine is slow and if you’re running late, that can be the difference as to whether you make or miss your train,” said Chaviva Galapo, a junior risk management and accounting major. “Especially at Temple where you still need to run up those flights of stairs after you’ve swiped in.”

Junior kinesiology major Lora Kim struggled to use the new system while traveling with her cousin.

“Hopefully it works out eventually once they get a little more used to the technology, but I think at this current moment it’s not as efficient as they want it to be,” she said.

By next month, the turnstiles at Temple, Jefferson, Suburban, 30th St. and University City stations will be fully operational Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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