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Commuter's Choice Can Lead to a 'SEPTA-CULAR' Vacation

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

Take a SEPTA Regional Rail train on safari? How about one of the Authority's buses to an island getaway? Impossible, right? It's not as far-fetched as it may seem. And the latest advertising campaign for SEPTA's Commuter's Choice tells riders how, by enrolling in the transportation benefit program offered through their employers, they can save up to $900 a year - an amount that can send them on a nice holiday.

Three new SEPTA "Save More, Do More" Commuter's Choice ads were unveiled on the Authority's vehicles in April. The spots depict passengers dressed for a safari trek, a ski retreat and a tropical escape - while riding SEPTA trains and buses - as their stunned fellow riders look on. Through the magic of photography, the destinations outside of the vehicles' windows are not Center City Philadelphia, but the African savannah, snow covered mountains and golden sands.

"The purpose of the ads is to tell our customers that, not only is SEPTA one of the most convenient and cost effective ways to commute to work, the system can also help send them on a dream vacation with savings provided through Commuter's Choice," said Jennifer Scimone, the Authority's Senior Sales Development Specialist. "Passengers who enroll in a Commuter's Choice program offered by their employers can fantasize about their trips during their SEPTA rides instead of stressing about the daily work grind."

Commuter's Choice offers programs for employers who want to provide transit discounts for their workers. Under Federal Tax Code 132F, employees who take advantage of Commuter's Choice can receive up to $245 per month as a tax-free benefit toward their transportation costs, covering the entire cost of SEPTA riders' weekly and monthly passes, pre-tax.

In addition to the tax break, workers whose employers offer the ComPass program save 10 percent on their SEPTA passes and receive their passes directly at their workplace.

Passengers aren't the only ones who reap rewards through Commuter's Choice. By offering one of the programs, employers save up to $200 per employee in FICA-related taxes annually. "Commuter's Choice is a great program to add to employees' benefits packages," said Scimone. "The pre-tax savings can be substantial over the course of the year - and the programs are simple to administer."

Information on Commuter's Choice and the new advertising images are available online. The sooner riders enroll in the program, the faster their vacation goals will go from just a fantasy to a dream-come-true.

To create the new Commuter's Choice ads, models posing as shocked passengers were photographed on a SEPTA bus and train separately from their "headed to vacation" counterparts.

Props such as beach attire and binoculars were ready for the Suburban Station photo shoot.