Updated 2013-3-16 7:00p
After months of speculation, and not a little bit of pleading from this blog and others, we are finally learning some of what is waiting in store for SEPTA riders when NPT rolls out later this year. This is coming wrapped up with fare hikes and rule changes that SEPTA will be implementing on July 1 as part of its policy to increment fares every two or so fiscal years to keep up with cost inflation. Details are available at http://www.septa.org/notice/asp/hearings-asp.html.
SEPTA is saving itself a round of public hearings by folding both the preprogrammed fare hikes and the NPT changes into one plan, but is not doing itself any favors in terms of PR by linking the two moves in the public consciousness. NPT-related changes will go into effect on July 1 2014, or 60 days after SEPTA gives notice that NPT rollout is complete, whichever comes first.
There are a lot of details to keep straight, and I’ll be diving into those for the next week or so in follow-up posts, but the key takeaways are as follows:
On the transit side:
- The venerable SEPTA token will spend its last few months in circulation at $1.80, up from $1.55. The cash fare will go up from $2.00 to $2.25 on July 1, and up again to $2.50 when the NPT rollout is considered complete.
- Transfers will remain $1.00, but NPT will deep-six the paper slip, and also put a 90 minute limit on transfers (there is a poorly-enforced 120 minute limit with the paper transfers today).
- The Monthly Transpass is going up from $83 to $92. This makes the break-even point for riders who don’t transfer a little more favorable, at 52 single-seat rides per month instead of 54.
- The Norristown High Speed Line and the Premium Bus Routes (123, 124, 125, and 150) will now have one flat charge for all riders, higher than the current maximum fares, even for short-distance travel.
On the railroad side:
- Zone 4 is being abolished. Six stations are being moved to Zone 5 (which will then be renamed as the new Zone 4), the rest are being moved to Zone 3.
- Trailpasses for Zones 1, 2, and 3 are going up. Anywhere Trailpasses are staying the same. Most Zone 4 passholders will see fare reductions as their home stations are moved to Zone 3; the remainder will pay more for an Anywhere Pass. The Cross-County Pass will now come in Weekly as well as Monthly flavors. The IM-1 Intermediate Monthly pass is being eliminated.
- Occasional riders of Regional Rail will see marginal increases in ticket prices, but those paying with NPT Smart Media cards will now be paying rates that were previously reserved for Ten Trip ticket purchasers.
- Gender stickers on passes are headed to the dustbin of history where they belong. To prevent abuse, “unlimited” passes will be limited in software to 50 uses for a weekly, 200 for a monthly.
A note for SEPTA non-professionals: SEPTA’s public hearings are not a joke, and they are not a show trial. While some things, like the overall amount of revenue to be collected, are fairly fixed, new fare rules can, and do, get modified due to public outcry and public pressure.