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April 21, 2016

PATCO plans to cross-honor SEPTA Key card on its rail line

Will begin once Pa. transit authority finally goes live with system some time in 2017

Transportation Rail
Patco Ben Franklin Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A Philadelphia-bound PATCO train on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

PATCO’s Freedom Card will be cross-honored on SEPTA when the SEPTA Key card finally gets up and running some time in 2017 and vice versa.

But that’s as detailed as the timeline is for now, according to John Rink, general manager for PATCO.

SEPTA has said it will begin a small pilot program in June but has set no firm date for the key card’s systemwide use, Rink explained Thursday.

Despite the inexactitude of timing, the plan to integrate the two systems was hailed by Larry Davis, who runs the Twitter account @PatcoWatchers.

“I think that's great and will make commuting easier for many people. It’s something the Delaware River Port Authority didn’t have to do. It’s nice they are going out of their way to change software,” said Davis, who sits on the DRPA’s citizen advisory board.

The DRPA'S board approved the software integration on Wednesday.

Rink said Freedom Card users will need to register their PATCO card in order to use it on SEPTA, but that’s all they will need to do.

He added there is a long-term goal of also cooperating in a card system that would include NJ Transit “in one seamless system,” but he said there is no timeline for that move.

The one downside to the SEPTA and PATCO card integration plan is that there will not be a discount for transfers between systems.