Sign on to Support our 2020 Fair Fares Platform

SEPTA’s Fare Restructuring Plan needs to go further to create a true “Fair Fares” system that suits riders of all incomes and ages.

We need to prioritize equity and fairness for the future success of our region’s transit system. These priorities would improve the existing customer experience and reposition transit as a viable option for many new riders - especially families, children, and current car commuters.

SEPTA’s Fare Restructuring Plan represents an important first step towards a more affordable, equitable, and efficient transit system. The agency’s plan is prudently based on an equity analysis which found the proposal will reduce costs, on net, for riders living in communities with incomes below the city median; shifting costs to higher income residents.

Given the current coronavirus pandemic and the lasting impact this will have on our region, SEPTA, and its riders, we present our 2020 Fair Fare Platform. These next steps will be critical to restoring ridership while providing much needed cost relief to its most financially-burdened riders.


1. ELIMINATE THE TRANSFER PENALTY. SEPTA has proposed one free transfer within 90 minutes of initial tap. This is a bold step towards improving equity and ensuring the system works for riders in all corners of our city. We want SEPTA to provide an unlimited number of free transfers within two hours from the first tap. Free transfers benefit low-income riders who tend to make transfers as part of their commute. It enables system efficiency and shorter travel times for many. Free transfers are also necessary ahead of a bus network redesign and enjoy the broad support of Philadelphia city government.2. IMPLEMENT FARE CAPPING. In a “Fair Fares” platform, a low-income rider should not pay more than a higher income rider for the same service. But that is frequently the case when it comes to passes. Low-income riders often can't pay the upfront cost of a pass and can pay more in single fares over the time period as a result. We want SEPTA to implement Fare Capping. Fare capping allows riders to pay for the cost of a pass over time. When riders have paid enough in single fares equal to a pass, the rest of their rides for that period are free. SEPTA Key would "cap" their fares so Travel Wallet riders never pay more than pass riders. This is central to the principle of equal service for equal payment.

3. PROVIDE FREE RIDES FOR CHILDREN. SEPTA proposed cutting fares to $1 for children 5 - 11. This fare must be paid in cash separately and isn’t eligible for the free transfer. We want SEPTA to eliminate fares for children 12 and under. This would encourage more family ridership and make transit an affordable option for parents. Eliminating youth fares would greatly simplify its implementation. Riders and SEPTA employees would not have to risk handling cash. Additionally, this step would reward ridership and spare the costs associated with collecting the extra cash. Free youth fares are an important part of instilling transit habits in the next generation, and should be viewed as part of a pipeline from free youth fares to expanded student passes and then finally universal university passes.4. ACCEPT TRANSPASS ON ZONE 1 RAIL. Zone 1 of the Regional Rail Network includes many of Philadelphia’s most underprivileged and transit-reliant neighborhoods. Yet this zone suffers from poor ridership, mainly because regional rail is much more expensive. Zone 1 is also served by cheaper, more frequent, albeit slower transit. We want SEPTA to accept weekly and monthly TransPasses for travel on Zone 1 Regional Rail—with the intention of eventually matching the cost for single rides. This would be a tremendous move toward making SEPTA a unified network, integrating these two disparate systems.

Recognizing the requirement for social distancing, SEPTA needs to provide alternatives to in-person public hearings. It is critical that SEPTA hear from a proportional sample of riders—from all demographics.

A concerted public outreach effort through multiple channels—focus groups, electronic polling, phone and mail surveys, for example—would ensure more voices are heard, and more people can submit feedback on their own time.

We are calling on SEPTA to:

  • Adopt our "Fair Fares" Recommendations.

  • Broaden public outreach ahead of its hearings for their Fare Restructuring Plan.

Sign today to show your support!

500 signatures

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Showing 356 reactions

  • susan thornton
    signed 2020-04-30 12:00:42 -0400
  • Kimberly Hahn
    @kimnhahn tweeted link to this page. 2020-04-30 11:49:34 -0400
    Sign on to Support 5th Square's 2020 Fair Fares Platform
  • Margaret Turcich
    signed 2020-04-30 11:46:18 -0400
  • Anya Saretzky
    signed 2020-04-30 11:43:53 -0400
  • Brent Groce
    signed 2020-04-30 11:43:22 -0400
  • Christopher MacDonald
    signed 2020-04-30 11:42:03 -0400
  • Meghan Higgins
    signed 2020-04-30 11:41:49 -0400
  • Ben Willis
    signed 2020-04-30 11:19:26 -0400
  • Dan Dorgan
    signed 2020-04-30 11:06:09 -0400
  • Jenna McBride
    signed 2020-04-30 11:06:06 -0400
    Jenna McBride
  • Grace Tillman
    signed 2020-04-30 11:03:17 -0400
  • Sarah Barasch
    signed 2020-04-23 12:12:43 -0400
  • Aimee Lee Nemeth
    signed 2020-04-22 14:28:06 -0400
  • Robert Duplessis
    signed 2020-04-22 14:25:33 -0400

    I have traveled in cities and countrysides around the world on public transit of all types and have therefore been able to experience personally how setting fares in an equitable manner increases use of public transit while also aiding transit revenues. When transfers are free and the window for using them is adequate, riders use transit more, because they are able to accomplish more tasks without additional expense. So the situation is win-win.
  • Cynthia Dobson
    signed 2020-04-22 04:44:31 -0400
    Please bring tokens back. Keycards are a nightmare to use ESP without a smartphone.
  • Stacey Toseland
    signed 2020-04-21 21:38:12 -0400
  • Catherine Hofmann
    signed 2020-04-21 20:42:12 -0400
  • Christopher Lankenau
    signed 2020-04-21 19:00:45 -0400
  • Tara Taylor
    signed 2020-04-21 17:03:38 -0400
  • Ashley Holland
    signed 2020-04-21 16:14:29 -0400
  • Mary Tasillo
    signed 2020-04-21 15:57:28 -0400
    Mary Tasillo
  • Jamie Davidson
    signed 2020-04-21 15:20:38 -0400
    Jamie Davidson
  • Shaine Stuhlmuller
    signed 2020-04-21 14:20:21 -0400
  • Stuart Roberts
    signed 2020-04-21 12:33:05 -0400
  • Maureen Brown
    signed 2020-04-21 12:03:14 -0400
    Maureen Brown
  • Mordecai-Mark Mac Low
    signed 2020-04-21 10:50:00 -0400
  • Joanna Mieleszko
    signed 2020-04-21 10:08:04 -0400
    While SEPTA is frankly wonderful, it isn’t as comprehensive as the MTA and making 2 transfers is a frequent necessity. Paying that $1 in addition to the fare can only be interpreted as a penalty. If we want a greener, healthier, better city we need to discourage personal vehicles & encourage public transit by making it more affordable, more comprehensive, safer, and an equally if not more comfortable option – Not at the expense of its riders.
  • Max Temnogorod
    signed 2020-04-21 10:04:30 -0400
  • Joseph Freedman
    signed 2020-04-21 10:01:05 -0400
    Thank you for the opportunity to support this.
  • Michael Hulburt
    signed 2020-04-21 09:26:50 -0400