SEPTA GM considers eliminating full-price cash transfers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As SEPTA’s new general manager settles into the job, she’s quickly turning her focus toward the transit agency’s equity.

GM Leslie Richards said she's examining whether or not SEPTA should eliminate its cash transfers. The discounted $1 transfer is available only on the SEPTA Key fare card. Riders who don't have a Key card have to pay the full cash fare — $2.50 — when transferring lines. 

Richards said she doesn’t want to penalize people who have to take a longer ride, but she also wonders how the agency would replace $14 million in annual revenue if transfers were eliminated. 

“I'm gathering all the data. I can tell you it's on the table and it will be discussed. I would assume in the next two to three months I'll have a definitive answer on that. But right now, I am seeing what that would mean,” she said.

SEPTA is also considering a fare increase, as it does every three years.

“We need more revenue in order to deliver the system that this region deserves,” Richards added, “so we have to have those conversations.”

Richards is also lobbying in Harrisburg for continued levels of funding dedicated to transit. She said big cities like Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. have more money earmarked for infrastructure.

“It's pretty amazing what SEPTA's been able to do with a capital budget of about $700 million — almost half of what comparable agencies have had to work with,” she noted.