Today I road free on the Broad Street Line from Cecil B. Moore to Federal Street. Normally, this would mean I hopped a turnstile or ran through the emergency exit – however today I got a free ride for a much more serious reason, the Septa Key machine was broken.
Septa Key fucking sucks. According to the Inquirer, these bullshit hotel room keys cost Philadelphia $200 million. In 2019, $4.4 million was spent on replacing all 400+ card readers in the city – yet the shit still doesn’t work.
Recently – after loading $25 onto my Septa Key, it expired, wasting the $25 I’d put onto it. Who knew the goddamn things have an expiration date? Turns out I’m more responsible with my SEPTA Key than the City is with anything!
The whole reason SEPTA told us we needed SEPTA Key was to modernize public transit. Meanwhile – the technology involved with SEPTA Key is expensive, dated and unreliable. Somehow with all this technology, public transit is less efficient.
Why isn’t there a specific SEPTA Key app for commuters to check the balance on their SEPTA Key? SEPTA is always advertising the “perks” for the SEPTA Key, why is the hub for these perks buried in the depths of the unusable SEPTA App? Also I don’t want perks, I want to know when the bus is coming.
You know what worked? Tokens! I always knew how many tokens I had, because I could look at them and count. Also, it didn’t cost $4.95 to reprint tokens – nor do tokens expire eliminating my money. Tokens weren’t made out of hard plastic or designed to be thrown away. Tokens were zero waste! Now every tourist who doesn’t feel like wasting $4.95 on SEPTA Key is throwing away paper tickets and creating litter.
SEPTA wants to blame lack of ridership on commuters, but won’t look inward at the idiotic infrastructure they’ve set up. How many free rides take place every day because the SEPTA Key or their kiosks aren’t operating? Not even Jesus Christ himself could use SEPTA Key for Regional Rail correctly on the first try.
Philadelphia’s public transit system is in the dark ages technologically. Go to DC or New York and take the subway, you’ll see huge signs reading “2 minutes til next train.” Come to Philadelphia and simply pray the train is coming soon.
In New York, you can just scan your phone on the subway and use Apple Pay. In DC, the Green Line has cushioned seats. In Philadelphia, I can’t double swipe my SEPTA Key to pay for my mom to get on the subway.
SEPTA Key is just another scam that the technologically inept leaders of our city have fallen for. Shoutout to whoever got the $200 million payday for this bullshit, not like we needed it for anything.