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August 03, 2023

SEPTA expands free pass program to students in higher education, starting with Swarthmore College

Participants at the Delaware County school will be able to use their Key cards 24/7 during the academic year

Transportation Higher Education
septa swarthmore college Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Students at Swarthmore College will receive free SEPTA Key cards to use during the academic year, through an expansion of the Key Advantage program.

SEPTA is expanding its Key Advantage pass program to include students at local colleges and universities, starting with Swarthmore College.

Students at the private liberal arts college in Delaware County will be given Key cards for free and can use them any time during the academic year. The limit is 240 rides each month, which averages eight rides per day.

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Swarthmore will provide free passes to all full-time, actively enrolled students. The UPass program will be available September through December and February through May, based on Swarthmore's academic calendar. Swarthmore will evaluate expanding its participation in the program to include its faculty and staff.

“Our participation in SEPTA’s Key Advantage UPass program is a chance to not only enhance our students’ living and learning experiences at the College, but also strengthen our commitment to sustainability by encouraging the use of public transportation,” said Anthony Coschignano, Swarthmore College's associate vice president for campus services.

Key Advantage allows institutions to acquire Key cards — which can be used on all SEPTA modes of transportation — directly from SEPTA and distribute them to employees or students. SEPTA has already launched the program with employers across the region, including over 20,000 Philadelphia city employees, but Swarthmore is the first institution to participate in the higher ed-focused UPass program.

The program has increased ridership at partnering institutions and has assisted in bolstering public transportation recovery for the region, which was cut in half by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SEPTA. Employers and schools can apply to join SEPTA's Key Advantage program online.

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