When will SEPTA Key be available?
According to the transit agency, the card will be available as a replacement for weekly and monthly passes by the end of March, but will not have full functionality until the end of the summer.
What will it do?
It will pay for rides on the subway, buses, and trolleys. It will take the place of every fare type on the city's transit system, except Regional Rail. It can be used as a single-ride card and can be replenished at kiosks and online, or, with some personalized versions of the card, can be linked directly to a bank account and draw from that automatically. It will essentially be a credit card with a smart chip in it, so when the card has a balance it can be used as a debit card, though some fees will be attached to uses outside the transit network.
How do I get it?
You will be able to buy SEPTA Key cards at kiosks at subway stations, online, or at 1,500 businesses that are cooperating with the transit agency to sell and offer services for the card, such as Wawa and Giant grocery stores. Personalized cards can be ordered online. The kiosks are designed to accept cash, credit cards, and tokens.
Will I still be able to use cash or tokens to ride?
For the time being, yes, but the plan is to phase those out on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines. Trolleys and buses will still accept cash, though they will be equipped with SEPTA Key card readers.
How much information will SEPTA gain through the card?
A lot. The agency will be able to see how the card is used at every step in a person's commute. It will get information it previously could not collect about the most frequently used commuter routes and how people use different modes of transit, such as transfers from subway to bus.
Who is responsible for the financial aspects?
Metabank and PNC are handling the banking functions for the cards.