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Smart fare cards for SEPTA transit delayed again

SEPTA was going to put out requests for proposals on a smart fare card system — in December 2007. Then, last June, the delays came again. One more time, Philadelphia. Plans to accept a proposal for a system are once again being pushed back, due to unclear expectations. This comes on the heels of a […]

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SEPTA was going to put out requests for proposals on a smart fare card system — in December 2007. Then, last June, the delays came again.
One more time, Philadelphia.
Plans to accept a proposal for a system are once again being pushed back, due to unclear expectations.
This comes on the heels of a flurry of exciting news for a transit agency, including that SEPTA’s spending of its share of the federal stimulus could create more than 5,000 jobs in the region.
Also, according to the Federal Highway Administration, January’s average driving mileage declined – both nationally and locally – marking the first time in 27 years that such travel dropped in consecutive Januarys.
Some because of a rise in unemployment, but the opportunity to increase transit ridership cannot be ignored.
From the Inquirer:

The deadline, which had been Tuesday, has been extended to May, SEPTA revenue and ridership chief John McGee said yesterday. That means a contract is not likely to be awarded until at least September, he said.
The “smart card” system will replace the tokens, tickets, and magnetic-stripe cards that passengers now use on buses, subways, trains, and trolleys. Passengers will be able to wave a card at a sensor on a turnstile or fare box and be on their way.
SEPTA wants a system that will allow passengers to use credit cards, prepaid SEPTA cards, and even cell phones to pay for their trips. [Source]

Read more, including details on the delay, motivated by a slew of vendors uncertain of what SEPTA wanted.
As Technically Philly reported, the sustainable movement is continuing, which seems like a prime time for SEPTA to garner an ever increasing market share. More than 30 companies have signed on as charter members of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program, launched by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and businesses throughout the region are going nutty with green.
Whether SEPTA will be able to capture their hearts and minds is yet unknown.
Image courtesy of SEPTA Watch.

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