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After 30 years, rail commuters should start preparing now for a big change!

SEPTA’s new electronic fare-payment system may herald the biggest change for local rail commuters since the Center City tunnel was built 30 years ago.

SEPTA expects to award a contract this month for its long-delayed “smart card” fare system, which will allow bus, subway, trolley, and train passengers to pay for their trips by tapping any “contact-less” bank card on an electronic reader. Riders can use credit or debit cards they already own or get smart cards from SEPTA.

The system is also being designed to eventually accept payment from smartphones.

The $100 million system will take three years to install, so SEPTA riders won’t immediately shift from their tokens, passes, tickets, and cash.

Source: Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer (

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