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November 12, 2016

SEPTA: No need for tokens starting Monday with new 'travel wallet' feature

Transportation SEPTA
Carroll - SEPTA Key Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A newly-installed fare kiosk, right, stands next to the old cash-only token vending machines at Cecil B. Moore station. The new machine will be used with SEPTA's new Key card payment system.

Starting Monday, SEPTA commuters can start kissing their tokens goodbye thanks to a new program that one official calls "a big step."

The transit agency is slated to roll out the "travel wallet," an addition to the SEPTA Key card program. The wallet allows travelers to load up anywhere from $10 to $250 dollars to use for the subway, trolleys and buses.

RELATED STORY: SEPTA launches 'Quick Trip' where riders can pay with plastic for single ride

It's a new feature that works for commuters who may not travel too often to get a weekly or monthly pass, but don't carry cash or have a token handy. Once loaded, travelers can tap their SEPTA Key cards on the red validator pads and $1.80 – the same cost as a token – will be deducted from the loaded amount. It will work for transfers, too, and will deduct $1.00.

"The 'travel wallet' is a big step in the program because it is the start of, I don't want to say phasing out the token ... but this is a big thing that we're kind of turning on on Monday and it's the next evolution in the program," said Andrew Busch, a SEPTA spokesperson.

SEPTA also said there won't be any pass-backs – the wallet can only be used by one person at a time.

Though, SEPTA will be starting out a bit small. To take advantage of the new feature, passengers must have a SEPTA Key card. From there, they can load money to the wallets at the sales office or kiosks at 1234 Market St.

Busch said that travelers will eventually be able to load money onto the cards via phone or online, but that feature is still in the far future. And while the wallet eliminates the need for tokens, Busch said they'll still be accepted. 

"Since it's such a big step we want to start small and then build it out," Busch said. "We're definitely excited to get it out."