Photo credit: Eliot Olaya/AL DÍA.

SEPTA seeks proposal bids for SEPTA Key 2.0


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As of April 20, 2023, SEPTA has begun accepting proposals for the development, implementation, and maintenance of its fare payment system as a part of their "SEPTA Key 2.0" initiative.

SEPTA Key 2.0 is an improved, multimodal fare payment system meant to enhance customer's experiences.

“SEPTA Key 2.0 will help ensure that we stay up-to-date with constantly-evolving fare payment technology,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards.

“This is a critical investment in our customers, and an important part of SEPTA Forward, SEPTA’s strategic plan,” she continued.

SEPTA Forward is SEPTA’s 5-year plan for improving upon their current services, with one improvement being the replacement of their current trolley fleet, which is expected to be completed by 2030.

The original SEPTA Key led to the removal of SEPTA tokens and paper tickets with its reloadable chip card with the intent to provide seamless travel and self-service flexibility.

Swapping to SEPTA Key 2.0 is likewise intended to upgrade the current SEPTA Key data-processing software in order to meet both current and future customer expectations.

“We have learned a lot from the first phase of SEPTA Key,” said Richards. “Our goal is to build on the strengths of SEPTA Key by unifying fare policy and promoting affordability, equity, and ridership growth.”

SEPTA hired Conduent Inc. to design and create the SEPTA Key system for $129.5 million, with the system expected to be operational by 2014.

Presently, they have paid Conduent $285 million for upgrades and system maintenance, as well as the work involved in initially implementing the SEPTA Key system; more than double the original budget for a project that launched in 2016.

The new system is required by SEPTA to be built with public needs in mind instead of proprietary ones. Because Conduent used proprietary technology for the first edition of the SEPTA Key, SEPTA had to go through them whenever they wanted to make a change or develop a new feature.

Currently, the SEPTA Key 2.0 is intended to have multiple new features including:

  • Payment options through smartphones, debit or credit cards, or wearable devices.
  • Ability to pay for multiple riders at the same time with the same fare payment method.
  • More retail locations for riders to purchase fares.
  • Automated, real-time updates to customer accounts.
  • Integration with partner and third party-issued fare payment methods.
  • Fare flexibility, allowing customers to obtain the best fare possible.
  • The modernization of SEPTA's website, mobile app, and channels of communication.

Those interested in submitting a proposal must do so by July 14, 2023, with more information available on SEPTA’s website.

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