SEPTA Key’s rollout onto Regional Rail is moving along with the expansion of its “tap to exit” method at Jefferson Station starting Monday.
Riders with the Key or who use legacy passes will need to tap or swipe to exit at about half of the station’s turnstiles beginning next week. The feature will be in effect Mondays through Fridays, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the foreseeable future. Those with paper tickets or who paid their fare with cash who find themselves at a locked turnstile will need to check in with a SEPTA Key ambassador before exiting, according to SEPTA.
“The idea behind that is to get it going, to move this forward, but also still have plenty of space to accommodate people who aren’t on the Key card yet," SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said.
Monday’s changes, which will affect 15 out of 31 turnstiles at Jefferson, come on the heels of a “friendly user" testing pilot that SEPTA began in November. A “tap to exit” rollout is expected to be introduced next at Suburban Station in two to three weeks, depending on how the rollout at Jefferson Station goes.
“Once we get through Jefferson, it will move pretty quickly to the other stations,” Busch said.
The goal is to prepare Regional Rail commuters for what will become a “TAP. RIDE. TAP.” method — opening trips by tapping validating towers at their home stations or by conductors onboard, and closing trips by tapping out. It’s also part of the Key’s adoption onto Regional Rail, which has been slower to come than for SEPTA’s buses, subways, or trolleys.
For now, nothing will happen to riders who don’t tap out. The method, however, will become especially necessary to determine fares once Travel Wallet — SEPTA Key’s way to let riders pay by trip, rather than having a time-limited pass — is implemented, considering Regional Rail trips are paid by zone. Travel Wallet is expected to be added later this spring.
In the fall, the agency said it planned an “aggressive” education campaign concerning the card validators, with flyers detailing the upcoming “tap to exit” method recently handed out to riders at Jefferson.
But that’s not the only indication of the changes. Riders should expect “huge signs" at the impacted turnstiles next week, Busch said.
“It’s going to be impossible to miss,” Busch said.