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  1. #1
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Default SEPTA Delays Smart Card again

    SEPTA has postponed for a third time its deadline for a "smart-card" fare system.

    The latest deadline is Aug. 18, five months later than the original March 17 requirement for manufacturers to submit proposals for an electronic system to replace tokens and paper tickets for its buses, subways, trolleys, and trains.

    With a smart card, passengers would be able to wave a card at a sensor on a turnstile or fare box and be on their way.

    SEPTA says it wants a system that will allow passengers to use credit cards, prepaid SEPTA cards, and even cell phones to pay for their trips.

    The process has fallen more than six months behind the schedule announced by SEPTA in November, when the agency said it hoped to award a contract by April. Now the contract is unlikely to be awarded before the fall.

    It will be several years before a system can be built and installed. The system is expected to cost about $100 million, although SEPTA has urged bidders to offer innovative financing proposals, such as public-private partnerships, to reduce the cost to the agency.

    SEPTA's intentionally vague request for proposals, which left many specifics of how the system should work up to the bidders, has made it more difficult for bidders to figure out how to create a new fare system.

    The latest delay was caused by "additional questions about intellectual property," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerria Williams. "There were questions about who would own the rights to the system."

    Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.
    SEPTA delays 'smart-card' system again | Philadelphia Inquirer | 06/24/2009

    I think it's probably more important to get a new system for RRD than city transit. paper punches and cash with no machines doesn't help anyone. I thinders fare collection and makes the conductors job more difficult. I'd reiterate my city transit proposal, install token machines in every station and raise the token fare to $2 but make transfers free. In this manner, two dollar bills on a bus are good for a trip and a transfer. subway stations can have machines that date stamp transfers and dollar coins will be as useful as tokens.

  2. #2
    desolate's Avatar
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    $100,000,000.00

    How about when the system has "kinks" that need several more millions.

    These systems always go up in cost and I've yet to see any system anywhere that the increase in riders offset the cost of implementation.


    ALl to replace an system that wasn't really broken for a normal user.

    It only really bothered part timers and tourist.

    and you fix them with a pass.

    Maybe if you didn't have scum as employees you could trust them with change.

  3. #3
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    the RRD system is broken though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post

    Maybe if you didn't have scum as employees you could trust them with change.
    Unfair and ungrounded charge, at least as far as I am aware.

    The problem had less to do with employees skimming from the till -- AFAIK, this number was so small as to be unimportant -- and more to do with protecting the employees from robbers.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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    they're in a glass box.

    If the chineese places and kfc can do it Septa can do it.

  6. #6
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    What is SEPTA's total budget? How much will SEPTA save with this new system? It sounds like SEPTA wants to lease the equipment from the contractor or a third party.

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    1. SEPTA is not looking to lease equipment -- this system will be purchased and installed. It will require new turnstiles (or other fare barriers) at subway-elevated stations, new fareboxes on surface vehicles...

    ...and something, no one's figured out what yet, on Regional Rail.

    And it's that last component that's the hangup. If you look at all the other stored-value/smart-card fare systems now in use, you will note that not a single one of them are usable on the regional/commuter rail networks in the same area. Those systems continue to collect fares railroad-style, with monthly passes separate from the stored-value cards that can be used for unlimited travel on the stored-value system (where the regional rail and the rapid transit are run by the same agency. In New York, I don't think even that applies.)

    SEPTA seeks to retain its "one fare instrument good on all modes" practice while implementing this new technology, and that is proving trickier than anyone thought. Frankly, I think there's a very simple solution -- move to an honor system of fare collection, with validated tickets as the fare medium -- but maybe that's not as simple as I think it should be. It would certainly be implementable on all modes.

    2. desolate: See above. This isn't just a credit-card swipe reader or RF chip.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

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    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    SEPTA doesn't want control of the fare system, they basically want to contract it out.
    I think the RRD is more important to fix. With all the low level platforms, paper tickets, and cash only it's a very inefficient process. much moreso than tokens. An honor system might be a very good fit for the RRD.Of course, it won't get ride of onboard sales unless there are ticket machines at every station.

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    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    The low-level platforms are going the way of the dodo. Queen Lane is getting high platforms right now. So is Ambler. I think that by the end of this year the entire R8 Chestnut Hill West will have high platforms, and East Falls is slated to get high platforms when it gets a new station. So is Wayne Junction. Within a few years only a few stations will be left to upgrade, and the low platforms will be the exception.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    The low-level platforms are going the way of the dodo. Queen Lane is getting high platforms right now. So is Ambler. I think that by the end of this year the entire R8 Chestnut Hill West will have high platforms, and East Falls is slated to get high platforms when it gets a new station. So is Wayne Junction. Within a few years only a few stations will be left to upgrade, and the low platforms will be the exception.
    While that may be true, there are some stations that cannot be fitted with high platforms because of the presence of tracks on the other side of the second track SEPTA uses (e.g., Langhorne and Woodbourne on the R3 West Trenton).

    But in any event, platform height has nothing to do with fare collection, which is the subject of this thread.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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  11. #11
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    no, low levels are no where near extinct and yes, a conductors job includes both taking care of the trap door and collecting fares

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    SEPTA doesn't want control of the fare system, they basically want to contract it out.
    I think the RRD is more important to fix. With all the low level platforms, paper tickets, and cash only it's a very inefficient process. much moreso than tokens. An honor system might be a very good fit for the RRD.Of course, it won't get ride of onboard sales unless there are ticket machines at every station.
    The modern "honor system" (also known as a "proof of payment" or "POP" system) requires ticket vending machines at every station, along with ticket validators.

    It's a two-step process: 1) purchase ticket at TVM, 2) validate ticket in validator, which stamps it with time and place of purchase; most honor system tickets are good for travel within a set time period from time of validation.

    Both functions can be performed by the same physical device, but separating the two allows riders to purchase tickets in advance and thus possibly save time later.

    On-board personnel do not check every rider for proof of payment, but rather conduct random roving inspections. If a rider cannot produce proof of payment when asked, his trip will cost him a good deal more than the price of the ticket -- $200 is a common fine.

    This system is in use on the NJ Transit River LINE in this region.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

  13. #13
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Italy uses it for its intercity and regional rail trains. what's elss clear is if there's a problem with the RIVER Line. It has an extremely low farebox ratio. is it just low fares and low ridership or are people not paying?

  14. #14
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
    The modern "honor system" (also known as a "proof of payment" or "POP" system) requires ticket vending machines at every station, along with ticket validators.

    It's a two-step process: 1) purchase ticket at TVM, 2) validate ticket in validator, which stamps it with time and place of purchase; most honor system tickets are good for travel within a set time period from time of validation.

    Both functions can be performed by the same physical device, but separating the two allows riders to purchase tickets in advance and thus possibly save time later.

    On-board personnel do not check every rider for proof of payment, but rather conduct random roving inspections. If a rider cannot produce proof of payment when asked, his trip will cost him a good deal more than the price of the ticket -- $200 is a common fine.

    This system is in use on the NJ Transit River LINE in this region.
    I rode the Tri-Rail between Palm Beach and Miami recently and I was shocked to note that they have guards on the platforms; these guards carry sidearms in plain sight. Not only that, but the conductors on the trains (checking tickets) also carry sidearms in plain view. Not only that, but they both work for Wackenhut. It's a different world down there. I don't recollect that my ticket was checked on the way back.

  15. #15
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Board members of South Florida Regional Transportation Authority approved a draconian budget for Tri-Rail: "reducing service from 50 trains daily to 30, ending weekend and holiday runs and completely shutting down the system by early 2011."

    "Officials also disclosed that the Federal Transit Administration is threatening to demand the return of $256 million Tri-Rail used for adding a second track -- if service is cut below 48 trains a day."

    Ironically, the fiscal crunch hits as the train is capturing new riders with hopes for expansion.

    The commuter train serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties has seen its ridership double in the past three years, and plans include extending it to Martin County, if funds can be found.

    "This is the first time in the system's 20-year history that officials are seriously considering ending the service -- formally started in 1989."
    Bleak Budget Forces Tri-Rail To Consider Termination By 2011 | Planetizen
    different world indeed

  16. #16
    desolate's Avatar
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    I don't understand why the transpass system is bad?

    Very few people are "part time" RRD riders.

    We have to spend $100,000,000.00 to appease them?

    Same goes for the CTD. Cash and transpasses. Sell the passes with vending machines that take cash and CC's

    I could do this for a quarter of the cost.

    Septa has a nasty habit of wanting the best ins ome areas like rolling stock and fare systems..

    but can't seem to mop a floor.

    I think piss, filth, and a total lack of QOL enforcement keeps people off the system than not being able to give them a $5 spot to get on a bus.

  17. #17
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    I'd reiterate my city transit proposal, install token machines in every station and raise the token fare to $2 but make transfers free. In this manner, two dollar bills on a bus are good for a trip and a transfer. subway stations can have machines that date stamp transfers and dollar coins will be as useful as tokens.
    I don't know why I never mentioned this to you before. When I was in Vancouver, what they did with their fare system was very neat. For the fare, you could ride as much as you wanted for 90 minutes.

    The way it worked on the buses was, you paid your fare and it spit out a ticket that was barcoded. If you already had your ticket, I believe it would read it to verify you could still use it.

  18. #18
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    it has released a clearer picture about what a new system might look like.
    And if SEPTA manages to pull it off, the agency will sport the most advanced fare-collection system in the country...Like other smart card systems, the SEPTA cards will use RFID (Radio-frequency identification) technology. Passengers will tap their cards against a reader at turnstiles or fareboxes, which will read information from a computer chip embedded in the card and deduct money from riders’ accounts.
    But unlike other smart card systems in places like Washington, D.C., and Boston, SEPTA is trying for an “open-loop system” that will allow any object with RFID technology to pay fares. Riders will be able to use credit cards that have embedded RFID computer chips and cell phones, which are expected to start carrying RFID technology in the next few years.
    The system will also be able to read ID cards with RFID chips, and the agency is talking with the School District of Philadelphia about redesigning student ID cards to replace student SEPTA passes, according to SEPTA ridership and revenue chief John McGee, who is heading the smart card project...Systems like E-ZPass are already designed to charge different riders different fees — a mini-van pays less than an 18-wheeler to ride on a highway — and can be easily adapted to SEPTA’s fare structure, which gives discounts to some riders like senior citizens and charges a premium to ride regional rail during commuting times...McGee said that SEPTA will still be distributing smart cards to users who don’t want to use their credit cards or who want to purchase weekly or monthly passes, which won’t be fazed out with the new system...There are several forms that such a system could take.
    The most revolutionary would be to eliminate all fares on trips into Center City and charge double for trips heading out to the neighborhoods and suburbs, like what the Benjamin Franklin Bridge charges for cars entering the city. The idea is that it might be easier to collect fares with a smart card in Center City — say, by making passengers go through turnstiles — than it would be to set up new payment-collection systems at every one of SEPTA’s 153 rail stations.
    McGee also speculated that a system might force passengers to validate their smart card at a machine on station platforms before boarding. The machine would deduct the fares and provide a receipt that could be checked by conductors in the same way that light rail systems like the River Line in South Jersey work...Alternatively, conductors could trade in their ticket punchers and be given hand-held electronic readers that would assess fares directly from the smart card.the agency will begin work later this month on running fiber optic cables through all the Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Line stations to make them compatible with the new technology...
    SEPTA delay could be "smart" move | Plan Philly: Planning Philadelphia's Future

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    Italy uses it for its intercity and regional rail trains. what's elss clear is if there's a problem with the RIVER Line. It has an extremely low farebox ratio. is it just low fares and low ridership or are people not paying?
    Their fares are specially subsidized by the state to encourage ridership. After the initial operating contract runs out (Bombardier is actually running the system for NJT) it will probably revert to NJT operations and the fares will probably go up a bit.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    I don't know why I never mentioned this to you before. When I was in Vancouver, what they did with their fare system was very neat. For the fare, you could ride as much as you wanted for 90 minutes.

    The way it worked on the buses was, you paid your fare and it spit out a ticket that was barcoded. If you already had your ticket, I believe it would read it to verify you could still use it.
    In the 1970s, the Chicago Transit Authority had something conceptually identical to this in the form of the "supertransfer." You purchased this for a surcharge on your regular fare, just like any other transfer, but instead of being good only for the next vehicle you boarded, it was good for travel anywhere on the system for a fixed period of time (two hours in this case).
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

 

 

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