And thus continues the long and winding road of the SEPTA SmartCard system: According to The Inquirer, you will soon be able to actually see work being done in the SmartCard conversion process. In the next few months (which we’re pretty sure they said a few months ago), you’ll begin to see people measuring, marking, and testing to get the new fare system into shape by Fall 2013. The whole thing is moving along … kind of. One passage sums it all up pretty succinctly:
SEPTA has set up a laboratory for testing prototypes of new fare equipment on the 18th floor of its Center City headquarters. A hallway there is lined with poster-size sheets detailing about 5,600 steps that must be completed to make the smart-card system a reality.
So far, only about 30 have been completed.”
The system promises to be relatively user friendly and simplistic by the time it is rolled out fully, which looks to be January 2014. For Regional Rail riders, however, shit is gonna get real complicated. Regional Rail riders will have to go through a turnstile before getting on their trains, and will have to “tag out” either with a conductor or at another turnstile before leaving the station they are arriving at. Otherwise, your fare isn’t recognized as paid. So, take some time to wrap your head around that one. You’ve got at least a year, probably longer.