Get ready for round two.
A second wave of SEPTA Key cards expires Saturday, but this time around, the transit agency has added a way to take care of leftover balances.
About 19,000 Key cards that SEPTA issued in 2016 to “early adopters” of its modernized payment system will lapse Saturday, just as the Philadelphia region enters a busy weekend for holiday travelers. Of the cards set to lapse, about 18,000 have the Travel Wallet feature, which lets riders pay by trip, and 1,000 have passes, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said.
But a recently launched online feature may make it easier for riders to transfer Travel Wallet fares and unused one-day passes from registered cards. Previously, the only options were to make changes by phone or in person.
More than 4,000 customers already have used the online “card-to-card replacement feature." The new option was made possible through a $129,000 contract increase in October. In total, the cost of the Key card system has grown to almost $200 million.
Step-by-step directions for the online feature can be found on SEPTA’s website, but those who prefer the previous methods can still call the SEPTA Key Customer Call Center at 855-567-3782 to make changes, or head to one of nine SEPTA sales locations:
A first wave of about 40,000 Key cards expired at the end of July. The cards expire every three years, due to an arrangement with MasterCard, with a “GOOD THRU” date printed on the front of each card. The next round of expirations comes June 30, 2020, and will impact about 10,000 cards.
Not all users have made a clean break with their old cards. More than $200,000 in abandoned funds from expired cards sits in a SEPTA account, which is expected to grow after this weekend.
“We want customers to bring these cards into a sales office, transfer them to a new card, and continue riding SEPTA,” Busch said. “In many ways, these funds are similar to old tokens customers have sitting in a drawer – they still have value, and we want people to use them.”