clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SEPTA Key card expansion: A helpful guide

The roll-out continues

The SEPTA Key card continues its roll-out expansion to more locations.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Today, SEPTA riders can finally buy a SEPTA Key card somewhere other than 1234 Market Street. The piece of plastic that is slowly replacing tokens can now be purchased at 69th Street Station.

SEPTA announced the transit hub as the second location because about 36,000 riders pass through there each day, according to the Inquirer.

For those who can’t make the trek out to 69th Street or SEPTA’s headquarters at 1234 Market, you’ll only have to wait until next week when SEPTA Key cards become available for purchase at other Market and Broad Street stations.

If all of this news has left your befuddled, we’re here to help. Here’s a guide that breaks down how to use and buy the SEPTA Key card.

What is a SEPTA Key card?

It’s a piece of plastic that allows you to pay for subway, bus, and trolley rides instead of using old tokens. SEPTA debuted the new payment system last year, but only in phases.

How and where do I get one?

The aqua-colored cards are available at SEPTA’s headquarters at 1234 Market Street and as of Thursday, February 9, 69th Street Station.

From Monday, February 13 to Friday, March 3, the cards will be available for purchase at various Market Frankford and Broad Street line stations. Here is a list of when and where you can buy one.

At 69th Street Station, you can buy a Key card by paying $10 for the Travel Wallet option. But when the roll-out continues next week, “riders will have to initially pay for a monthly or weekly pass to get the card,” according to the Inquirer.

Can I just choose how much money I put on the card?

Yes, you have a number of options. You can buy SEPTA Key card with a Transpass (one-week or one-month pass), or pay at least $10 for the Travel Wallet option. This feature lets you add $10-$250 onto the card. Then, when you swipe for a ride, it will deduct a discounted fare, similar to the token system. (The typical fare of a SEPTA ride is $2.25.)

Note, though, that you can only load up Travel Wallet at major SEPTA sales offices or online. It’d be most convenient to just log onto septakey.org and load up on either daily, weekly, and monthly passes or Travel Wallet there.

Help! I forget how much money I have on my card.

Just log onto septakey.org to find your current balance. (Currently, SEPTA kiosks at stations don’t offer this feature.)

I still have a bunch of tokens. Can I use them?

Yes—for now. Eventually, SEPTA will phase out the tokens (RIP!) depending on how many people adopt the SEPTA Key card. So use those artifacts up while you can. Just note: A lot of stations don’t have a slot for the tokens anymore—just hand it to the attendant behind the desk.

What if I just need to take one ride?

If you still have tokens, use that. Or, you can buy the Quick Trip option at any SEPTA kiosk. This is a paper slip that buys you a normal $2.25 ride on the subways, trolleys, and buses. Just note: You have to use that slip from the same station you bought it—don’t buy two Quick Trips assuming it’s a round-trip deal.

For example, if you buy a Quick Trip from 15th Street Station for a ride to 5th Street/Independence Hall, you will have to buy a separate Quick Trip from 5th Street/Independence Hall to your next destination.

Can I use the Key card on SEPTA’s regional lines?

Yes and no. You can’t use your Key card on regional lines during the week. But you can use it (using weekly or monthly passes) on weekends and holidays. When you get on the train, just show your card to the conductor and they’ll validate your fare.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that you needed to buy a monthly or weekly pass to buy a SEPTA Key card at 69th St. Station. You can purchase one via a $10 Travel Wallet pass at that specific station, too.