by Celia Batista
01/03/2018 - 14:00
bye bye, tokens
Celia Regina Alves Batista
SEPTA is using its website and social media platforms to invite passengers to join SEPTA Key, the company’s new fare system, and to inform riders that tokens sales are being phased out.
Rodrigo Vurruti, a Spanish immigrant who lives in Philadelphia, uses SEPTA daily, but in August he was caught by surprise when going to visit a friend. He went down the Dauphin-Susquehanna subway station and to his shock the ticket gates had been modernized and stopped accepting tokens, there was no cashier to take his token either.
"A security guard told me that that entrance was already set up for SEPTA key and that I should use the other entrance," Vurruti said.
At that moment he knew tokens wouldn't be around for long. He was right. On December 20th, SEPTA announced that token machines will be removed beginning in mid-January 2018, and token sales will be restricted.
To avoid situations like the one faced by Vurruti, SEPTA has been reaching out to its riders and informing them about SEPTA Key implementations. And SEPTA's presence on social media gives rides flexibility to choose the best way to get information about SEPTA.
The company has an exclusive strategy to reach the Hispanic community. Elvira Méndez is SEPTA's Multilingual Community Relations Coordinator for the Hispanic community. With Méndez in this position, the company intends to improve communications with Philadelphia’s Hispanic population.
"(Méndez) will work to engage, inform and grow our public outreach,” said Carla Showell-Lee, Director of Media Relations for SEPTA. “(She will) strengthen our connection and demonstrate our commitment to the Hispanic community."
"The main aim of SEPTA’s social media initiatives are to engage with our customers in the space where they choose to be – giving them flexibility, and making information more accessible,” said SEPTA Chief Press Officer Andrew Busch. “We will continue to look at ways to enhance these efforts moving forward."
"Our SEPTA social media team works hard to keep our customers engaged," Showell-Lee said.
The company's website is also an important channel to reach and invite user to migrate to SEPTA Key.
"We encourage our riders to visit SEPTA.org for the very latest updates," Showell-Lee said.
The transition from tokens to SEPTA Key is being made gradually with several steps to assure a better adaptation for SEPTA riders.
SEPTA Key implementation started in 2016 and the elimination of tokens is another step in SEPTA's fare modernization plan.
"The SEPTA Key is the safest and easiest way to travel,” Showell-Lee said. “Token sales have gone down which is a true testament that our customers are ready to make the switch – our goal was to tell them when and we are continuing to do that."
Today, a SEPTA user can get the Key Card for free when making a minimum $10 load. Cards can be reloaded online or by calling (855) 567-3782. Riders can also add funds to Key cards at SEPTA kiosks.
The load amount can vary between $10 and $250. Users can pay cash, by credit or debit card.
Riders also have the option of registering their Key Card, which allows them to secure their balance in case of loss of theft. To register a card, click here or call (855) 567-3782.