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March 10, 2020

SEPTA keeps $2.50 base cash fare in proposed restructuring plan

Public Transit
SEPTA Fare Restructure Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

SEPTA's fare restructuring plan will require 10 public hearings throughout the region to discuss the transit agency's proposal. SEPTA last increased fares in May 2017.

SEPTA officials revealed the details of a proposed fare restructuring plan on Wednesday that would take effect in July, keeping the base cash fare steady at $2.50.  

The proposal is the first during the tenure of new General Manager Leslie Richards, who previously led PennDOT and officially replaced Jeffrey Kneuppel in January.

Highlights of the plan, which will be released in full on March 20, include a reduction in child fare and a the introduction of a new 3-day Independence Pass at cost of $18. 

"In keeping with the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, SEPTA has adopted a practice of making modest, periodic fare adjustments every three years," SEPTA said in a statement. "The last fare changes went into effect on July 1, 2017."

Under the proposal, fares for up to three children between the ages of 5 and 11 traveling with a fare-paying adult on all SEPTA services will be $1. It's a decrease of between 43% and 78% across all services. Up to three children under the age of 5 traveling with a fare-paying adult will continue to ride for free on all SEPTA services. 

The base Travel Wallet Fare on Key card would increase from $2 to $2.50, but SEPTA will offer customers one free transfer. Additional transfers will be $1 each. 

SEPTA does plan to increase the cost of Weekly TransPasses by $1 to $26.50, while a Monthly TransPass would go up $3 to $99. 

The three-day Independence Pass is designed to serve workers who don't travel five days a week and to better accommodate visitors from out of town. The current one-day Independence Pass costs $13. 

All changes, if approved, would take effect on July 1, 2020. 

SEPTA last approved a systemwide fare increase in May 2017, most notably raising cash fares and quick trips from $2.25 to $2.50. Most other fares types also were bumped by varying degrees.

For years, local groups have assailed SEPTA's $1 transfer fee between transit lines other than the main hubs in Philadelphia. The new plan goes part of the way toward rectifying that objection to the system's fare structure  by providing one free transfer. 

After the fare restructuring proposal is formally submitted later this month, SEPTA will hold a series of 10 required public hearings throughout the region to accept feedback on the plan. Dates and locations for the hearings have not yet been announced.