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Advisory Committee Meets as SEPTA Opens NPT Dialogue

Andrew Busch
SEPTA Press Officer

SEPTA has opened a dialogue with riders and the public about the New Payment Technologies (NPT) initiative, a project that will result in a customer-friendly, modernized fare system.

In August, SEPTA officials met with the newly formed NPT Advisory Committee, a stakeholder group that will offer guidance to the SEPTA Board and staff as the Authority moves closer to the implementation of an electronic fare system.

This initial meeting provided an opportunity for SEPTA to share information about NPT, and answer questions from committee members.

"SEPTA wants this process to be responsive, accurate and transparent," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "We welcome the opportunity to get feedback from riders and other stakeholders as we move forward."

Members of the NPT Advisory Committee represent stakeholders throughout SEPTA's 2,200-square mile service region. There are members from government entities, such as the city of Philadelphia and the counties in the SEPTA service region; rider advocacy groups, such as the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers and the SEPTA Citizen Advisory Committee; local universities and hospitals; chambers of commerce and local businesses; and community and neighborhood associations. SEPTA expects additional members to join the committee before the next meeting in the fall.

The committee will have a critical role in the NPT process, acting as a public sounding board and providing valuable feedback. The committee will also help ensure that SEPTA is providing riders and the public with information about the new fare system. SEPTA Board members and staff will meet quarterly with the committee, and additional sessions could be scheduled as SEPTA moves closer to the launch of NPT.

SEPTA's new fare system will be based on contactless computer chip technology - often referred to as "smart cards". This will give customers a variety of choices in how they pay to ride SEPTA's trains, buses and trolleys. Credit cards, cell phones and other devices equipped with smart technology will be able to be used to pay for rides. There will also be SEPTA cards available at station vending machines. Riders will be able to use cash as well as debit or credit cards to buy the SEPTA cards. From there, riders will simply wave their payment device at station turnstiles and readers on buses and trolleys, and continue on their trip. NPT will also mean the end of outdated payment methods, such as tokens, paper transfers and tickets.

SEPTA is implementing NPT in three phases over a three-year period. The first phase - design - is currently underway. Installation and implementation will begin on transit modes, including buses, trolleys and the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines, during the second half of 2013. By late 2014, SEPTA expects to extend the system to Regional Rail lines. CCT Paratransit and SEPTA parking lots will also be equipped with this electronic payment technology.

SEPTA will launch a number of customer-focused communication initiatives prior to the launch of the new fare system, with the goal of educating riders and making the transition smooth. In the coming months, riders will begin to see information displayed at stations and other customer areas.

Project updates and details about the new fare system will also be posted on SEPTA's Website. For more information, click here.

SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey speaks at the NPT Advisory Commitee meeting on Aug. 9.

John McGee, SEPTA's Chief Officer for New Payment Technology, gives a presentation to the commitee.

A member of the advisory panel asks a question during the meeting, which was held at SEPTA headquarters.

Committee members write down their ideas during an interactive portion of the session.

McGee takes questions from the group.