It’s been three years since the first batch of SEPTA key cards was introduced and bought in 2016, and now they’re expiring.
On July 31, nearly 40,000 SEPTA key cards will be unusable, thanks to their three-year expiration date, according to BillyPenn. But, if you have money loaded on that 2016 card, you have some options.
Over 35,000 of those initially issued cards are funded through travel wallets, which essentially turn it into a transit-only debit card, with money loaded that you can spend at any SEPTA turnstile. If you have one of those cards you’ll have to buy a new one, but you can transfer over the money from your previous card to a new one by reaching the call center at 855-567-3782, according to Inquirer.com. The news site says the call centers are ready for the changeover as soon as today.
The three-year limit is not exclusive to first-time cardholders. Everyone who owns a SEPTA key card can expect to see an expiration date within three years of buying the card.
In a way, it’s a sort of milestone for the transit giant SEPTA, which has been slowly pushing travelers from the dated token system to the key card system over the past few years.
Tokens have been a staple of Philly transit since 1968, but SEPTA switched over to key cards in 2016. Over the following years, the transit agency tried to push riders to use the new system, offering free key cards (at first), before bringing the price up to $4.95 a card last year. At the same time, they started to remove the token kiosks from various stations, phasing them out slowly over 2018.
And it seems that riders took to the change: over 1.2 million key cards are now in use, reports Inquirer.com.
Yet, for all of the innovation that SEPTA has in pushing a card system, Philly is still behind some major metropolitan areas, like New York, which is slowly doing away with its Metrocard in favor of tap-to-pay system, where riders can merely tap bank cards or their mobile wallet app on their smart phones to pay for transit.