This fall — supposedly — when the long-awaited SmartCard system begins to roll out, we’ll be one step closer to the day when SkyNet becomes sentient, because the SmartCard system will learn your habits and know what you like. According to CBS3, the “Validator” — the screen to which you will touch your SmartCard or phone or whatever — will know where you want to go. Leslie Hickman, SEPTA’s deputy chief officer for new payment technologies integration said:
If you establish a pattern with SEPTA, and you register your card and forget to tap out [waving your card over the Validator to 'end' your Regional Rail trip at the destination], we wouldn’t charge you the maximum [fare for zone travel]; we’d charge you what you’ve shown us all along you’ve used.”
That’s a little creepy (but we’re sure it’ll be super convenient for when we’re lazy, which is almost always). Additionally, the cards will be “open,” working like a pre-loaded debit card, so if you need to get a coffee before you can wrap your head around this whole system, you can use your card to do that. According to SEPTA, the project will be fully rolled out on buses, trolleys, and subways by April 2014, hitting Regional Rail that fall. Also, they will “still accept tokens, but toward 2015, we’ll stop selling the old media.” So if you hoarded a bunch of tokens when they were still $2, you’re in luck for a little while longer.