SEPTA Student Fare Card

Overview

SEPTA is phasing out the weekly Transpass and replacing it with a SEPTA Student Fare Card for all eligible students.

What is it?
It is a reusable chipped card used by students to board a SEPTA trolley, bus, or subway. Unlike the disposable weekly Transpass, students will be able to use the SEPTA Student Fare Card for the entire school year.

If a SEPTA Student Fare Card is lost, stolen, or damaged the student will reach out to their school to request a replacement.

How will my student get one?
On the first day of school, all forms of transportation on SEPTA including buses, trains and subways will be free to students so they can get to school safely on their first day Tuesday August 31.

Once at school, the new Fare Cards will be distributed to students in the same manner they received their transpasses.

How do I know if any of my students are eligible for a Transpass?

The Department of Transportation Services Scheduling Department determines student eligibility for Transpasses based on specific criteria. Information on eligibility can be found HERE.

SEPTA Student Fare Card Informational Pamphlet

The Department of Transportation Services has created a pamphlet to share with students, parents, or administrators who have questions about the SEPTA Student Fare Card:

1
2

SEPTA Student Fare Card Guidelines

SEPTA Student Fare Cards will be valid for travel to and from school with a limit of no more than 8 taps per day, during the hours of 5:30am and 8:00pm.

A “Tap” is how you gain access to the SEPTA system and how a SEPTA Student Fare Card transaction is recorded.

Students are reminded that a SEPTA Student Fare Card is only valid for travel by the eligible Student and cannot be shared. There is no cost to the Student or Parent/Guardian for this card, as SEPTA transportation is provided through the School District. It is important that students notify their School Administrator in the event their SEPTA Student Fare Card is lost, stolen, or damaged.

If the student elects to use SEPTA Regional Rail services, they can upgrade their SEPTA Student Fare Card to include Regional Rail service at an additional cost.

The estimated cost for this upgrade is about $10.00 per week for a 5-day school week; that cost will be less when the student is traveling fewer days based on their academic calendar.

To receive the Regional Rail fare upgrade, the Student must physically present their SEPTA Student Fare Card at one of the SEPTA Sales Offices locations noted below – this cannot be done by the School Administrator. Upgrades are available between the Wednesday of the prior week through Tuesday of the current week and the student must purchase an upgrade on a weekly basis.

  • The Student must present a cash payment to complete the upgrade.
  • The amount of the upgrade will be determined by the number of designated school days for a given week (for example Thanksgiving Week would be a 3-day upgrade).
  • The SEPTA Sales Agent will assign Rail Trips to the SEPTA Student Fare Card based on the number of school days for the week.
  • It is highly recommended that students complete the upgrade between Wednesday-Friday of the preceding week.
    • For instance, if a Student travels from Overbrook to Bryn Mawr daily but Thursday or Friday, after school, they travel from Bryn Mawr to 30th Street on their way home. If they make the upgrade purchase for the upcoming week, the extra trip for their travel back from 30th to Overbrook will be at no additional cost.

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

What is a SEPTA Student Key Card?

  • A SEPTA Student Key Card is a contact-free chipped card that is used by students who are eligible to board a SEPTA trolley, bus or subway.
  • The SEPTA Student Key Card will replace the Weekly Student Transpass at the start of the 2021-22 school year.

How will my student get one?

  • On the first day of school, all forms of transportation on SEPTA including buses, trains and subways will be free to students so they can get to school safely on their first day, Tuesday, August 31.
  • Once at school, the new Fare Cards will be distributed to students in the same manner they received their transpasses.

Why is the Department of Transportation Services moving from the weekly Transpass to the SEPTA Student Fare Card?

  • SEPTA is in the process of phasing out Transpass technology and equipment at all stations. The Department of Transportation Services must adapt to SEPTA’s new platform.

What are the benefits of the SEPTA Student Key Card compared to the weekly student Transpasses used in the past?

No more weekly distribution of student Transpasses.

  • Students will be issued a SEPTA Student Key Card once, which as long as the student remains eligible and enrolled in your school, the card can be utilized for the entire school year.
  • For students who remain eligible and remain enrolled in the same school for multiple years, the SEPTA Student Key Card has the ability to be utilized for multiple years.

How will the Department of Transportation notify families about the SEPTA Student Fare Card?

  • The Department of Transportation Services will send letters to the families of students who are currently eligible for transpass.

When can the SEPTA Student Fare Card be used?

  • The SEPTA Student Fare Card is active for each designated school day from the hours of 5:30 am to 8:00 pm.
    • SEPTA Student Fare Cards will not be operational on national holidays, weekends, and predetermined non-school days.

What is a “Tap?”

  • A tap is SEPTA’s term for accessing transportation. It is a remote accessible way of entering the transportation type using the SEPTA Student Key Card.
  • Students will “tap” their SEPTA Student Key Card as they board each mode of transportation.
  • Each SEPTA Student Key Card will be programmed with a maximum of eight taps per day.
    • School resources should reach out to the Department of Transportation Services regarding any student who requires more than eight daily taps.

How are students expected to get to school on the first day, if they won't yet have their card?

  • No changes have been made to the existing process regarding transportation on the first day of school.
  • SEPTA will allow students to travel for free on August 31, 2021.

Does the SEPTA Student Key Card take the place of the Regional Rail pass?

  • Riders will have the ability to upgrade Key Card services to include Regional Rail transportation by paying a nominal fee associated with the number of school days for the week.

What holidays are blocked on all SEPTA Student Fare Cards?

In addition to published school holidays no SEPTA Student, Fare Card is operational on the dates below. If your school needs SEPTA Student Fare Cards activated for any of these dates, please have a school official send an email to transpass@philasd.org. Please review the school calendar for additional days that the SEPTA Student Fare Card is not operational.

2021
Monday, September 6th – Labor Day
Thursday, November 25th – Thanksgiving
Friday, December 24th – Christmas (Observed**)

2022
Monday, January 3rd – New Years Day
Monday, January 17th – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, February 21st – Presidents’ Day
Monday, May 30th – Memorial Day

What happens when a SEPTA Student Key Card is lost, stolen or damaged?

  • Schools will be given an inventory and have the ability to distribute replacement cards to students who report their assigned SEPTA Student Key Card as lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Schools will need to report cards as lost, stolen or damaged in the SEPTA Student Key Card application. Reported cards will be sent to SEPTA nightly for deactivation.
  • After an assigned SEPTA Student Key Card has been marked as lost, stolen or damaged in the SEPTA Student Key Card application, the school can assign a replacement card to the student, which will be active for the next school day.
  • Once a SEPTA Student Key Card has been deactivated by SEPTA, it can not be reactivated.

Will there be resources for the parents to reference this change and how it works?

Are there any restrictions on when the SEPTA Student Key Cards can be used for transportation services?

  • SEPTA Student Key Cards will be active for each designated school day from the hours of 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Will new SEPTA Student Key Cards be needed for all students at the start of each school year?

  • Students who remain eligible for transportation services and are enrolled in the same school as the previous school year will be able to utilize their SEPTA Student Key Card for the new school year.
  • Students who are enrolled in a new school from the previous school year, will need to be re-evaluated for eligibility and if eligible will require a new SEPTA Student Key Card assigned for the new school year.

If a student loses, damages or has their card stolen before getting to school, how do they gain access to transportation that morning?

  • The student will be responsible for getting to school that morning and the school will issue a replacement card. The replacement card will not be activated until the following morning.

If the students are not able to gain access to their transportation due to a problem with the SEPTA Student Key Card and/or SEPTA hardware, will the dispatcher permit them to ride?

  • SEPTA has informed the District, students participating in the pilot that experience transportation issues and can show the SEPTA employee a SEPTA Student Key Card will be permitted to access transportation services.
  • Ridership issues should be reported by the student to the school as soon as possible.
  • Student should fill out the SEPTA Student Key Card Problem Form.

A student forgot their SEPTA Student Key Card on their way to transportation. Will the student be able to gain access to ride?

  • The student will be responsible for getting to and from school for that day. Replacement cards should only be issued in the event the card is lost, stolen or
    damaged.

If students are attending summer programs through the school will the SEPTA Student Fare Cards be reactivated?

  • Please check back for updates. More information will be provided on this question by the Spring of 2022.