The School District of Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have announced that a new Student Fare Card will replace weekly student Transpasses starting in August.
About 65,000 eligible students in Philadelphia will receive a SEPTA Student Fare Card, a contact-free, reusable chip card that students can use to get to and from school during the 2021-2022 school year. The transition aligns with SEPTA’s transformation from its previous manual fare collection system to automated.
Students can “tap” up to eight times per day using the Fare Card between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on any bus, trolley or subway on school days. If a student prefers to utilize regional rail, they can upgrade their student Fare Card at designated SEPTA stations for about $10 per 5-day school week.
Eligible students will receive their Fare Card when they return to in-person learning on the first day of school. The Student Fare Card will remain active as long as the student remains eligible and enrolled in that school. SEPTA also announced student riders will be able to ride for free on the first day of school on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
“We’re excited to roll the student Fare Card District-wide after a successful pilot program earlier this year,” said Reggie McNeil, Chief Operating Officer, School District of Philadelphia. “This transition will help reduce our carbon footprint by eliminating weekly laminated passes with the reusable plastic card.
It will also provide safety measures to protect against lost or stolen fare cards.” In a press conference announcing the Student Fare Card, SEPTA also shared updates regarding its enhanced cleaning efforts for vehicles and stations. The Authority has initiated station cleaning and maintenance blitzes at stations along the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines.
For each blitz, crews spend the overnight hours performing deep cleaning and maintenance work, including elevator repair, painting, power washing, and installing new lighting and signage. All vehicles are well-ventilated with a combination of efficient HVAC systems and doors opening frequently for customers boarding and exiting.
SEPTA has also increased safety measures by adding security guards along the Market-Frankford Line, which is SEPTA’s busiest line and frequently used by students to get to school. SEPTA Transit Police officers are working closely with outreach specialists to connect those in need to substance use treatment, behavioral health services, and other assistance. The Authority continues to follow CDC and TSA guidelines regarding mask requirements and other COVID-19 safety protocols on public transportation.
“We are looking forward to welcoming students back on SEPTA and providing them with a more convenient way to access the system,” said SEPTA general manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “Our number one priority will always be the safety of our employees and riders, including students who take SEPTA to school.”
Through the City of Philadelphia’s Safe Routes Philly free program, students and families can also access transportation safety lesson plans, activities, and resources in English and Spanish – so they can gain the knowledge and skills they need to travel safely to and from school.
Safe Routes Philly is also a part of Vision Zero – a goal established by Mayor Kenney in 2017 to end traffic deaths by 2030.
“We are proud to support the School District and SEPTA in their transition to a new student fare card by teaching students safe streets skills and actively talking and engaging with families about traffic safety,” said Mike Carroll, the City of Philadelphia’s deputy managing director for transportation.
For more information, please visit the District’s SEPTA Student Fare Card webpage and for more information on riding SEPTA, visit: www.septa.org.
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