RIP Paper transfers. Now let's end the $1 transfer penalty!

5th Square's weekly newsletter reaches over 10,000 subscribers with the news, events, and opportunities Philly urbanists need to know about each week. Become a member and support our advocacy


Paper transfers are officially a thing of the past. The $1 transfer penalty should be next. 

SEPTA officially ended the sale of paper transfers today, as part of the transition to SEPTA Key. Now, riders will be able to transfer between transit vehicles for $1 for up to 90 minutes after tapping their SEPTA Key card. Riders who haven't yet transitioned to SEPTA Key will be charged full fare to transfer.

It's time for SEPTA to commit to ending the $1 transfer penalty. One fare should cover a rider's whole trip, and the base fare should come with free transfers for up to 90 minutes. Not only are paid transfers regressive and unfair, they're also bad transit policy because they depress ridership and encourage people to ride transit in inefficient ways just to get a one-seat ride. 

SEPTA has hinted they may be open to ending the transfer penalty in the near future, but they need an extra push from riders to make it happen. There are two things you can do to help:

1. Sign our petition calling on SEPTA to end the $1 transfer penalty and share it on social media using the hashtag #freetransfers.

2. RSVP for the 5th Square Transit Committee kick-off meeting on August 29th to get involved in building a new transit rider advocacy organization for Philadelphia


Thursday, August 2, 8:00 am
Rebuilding of Mifflin Square Park
Design Advocacy Group's August meeting theme is the Conceptual Plan for Mifflin Square Park, and the process behind designing a public space for one of South Philadelphia's most diverse neighborhoods.

Tuesday, August 7, 6:30 pm

5th Square Organizing and Elections Committee
Help elect urbanist candidates to City Council in 2019! Join our Organizing and Elections Committee for our second meeting to continue planning our organizing and electoral activities for the 2019 City Council elections. 

Saturday, August 11, 8am - 1pm
Philly Free Streets
The third Philly Free Streets is happening in just two weekends from now, on August 11th! This time the city will be opening up all of North Broad Street from City Hall to Erie Ave for car-free fun and physical activity. Philly Free Streets came about as a result of the Open Streets PHL advocacy campaign led by 5th Square leaders and volunteers after the Pope's visit, and is now an official City program. 

Wednesday, August 15, 6:30 pm
5th Square Marketing Committee
Want to help produce and grow this newsletter, write blog posts and educational materials about urbanist policy ideas, or learn more about digital political communications during a City Council election year? Join us for the second meeting of 5th Square's new Marketing and Communications Committee on August 15th. 


5th Square is selling a limited run artist series t-shirt, featuring an original illustration by Kate Otte. 
Proceeds from sales will go to fund our 2019 political activities for City Council races. You can get a shirt at half price ($10 instead of $20) if you become a member, and sign up for a $5 recurring monthly donation



Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft siphon transit riders away from public transportation and also create a lot more congestion on city streets, according to a new study.

…But urban gridlock isn’t all Silicon Valley’s fault, argues Robin Chase, Zipcar’s founder and former CEO. It's mostly personal cars clogging city streets. About 86% of miles traveled by urban dwellers can still be chalked up to personal vehicles, she says, and suggests cities try to shift transportation choices toward walking, cycling, and transit by “charging all vehicles for their contribution to emissions, congestion, and use of curbs.”

The Office of Sustainability hired an outreach strategist to engage diverse neighborhoods that haven’t historically been consulted about environmental issues and got a very positive reception 

Philadelphia's urbanist roots run deep: a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist advocated for better bike lanes in the 1890s, writes Mike Newallwhile adroitly avoiding those pesky trolley tracks


Parks and Recreation is hiring a 1st Deputy Commissioner for Strategy & Engagement

The Rail Park is hiring a Community Engagement and Programs Manager

WSP's Philadelphia office is hiring a Senior Transportation Planner

PhillyCam is hiring a Community Engagement Director

The Arts and Business Council is hiring an Executive Director

5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee. We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns. Our work is made possible by generous, passionate people like you. Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5 or more.