SEPTA Rail System to Offer Free Rides to Seniors

In Glidex®, Rail & Mass Transit, Rail Lubrication by Eric Vantiegham

Senior citizens will soon be able to use SEPTA Regional Rail for free. The change could boost ridership throughout Philadelphia’s commuter rail network.

Later this year, senior citizens who use the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Regional Rail service will receive free rides when they use their Key card. While citizens with a SEPTA Senior ID card already enjoy free travel on Philadelphia’s buses, subways, and trolleys, they’ll soon have free access to 13 commuter rail lines as well, generating additional ridership for one of the country’s most popular regional networks.

Key Cards and Free Rides

The announced fare reduction comes as SEPTA works to replace the tokens, passes, and magnetic strip cards it previously used to control fares with new “smart” Key cards. Much like London’s Oyster Card, riders need only tap their card at a reader to enter a SEPTA station.

With 80,000 Key cards already issued, SEPTA is in the process of placing card readers in Regional Rail stations, the only branch of the system that doesn’t currently support the card. The free fares will be offered as soon as SEPTA finishes installing card readers throughout the Regional Rail network.

Further Changes in the Works

According to SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch, waiving the $1 fee currently charged to senior riders will cost SEPTA approximately $1 million each year. SEPTA officials add that data collected from these Key cards will help inform decisions on future fare calculations, including a possible elimination of the current transfer fee.

While there are 50,000 Senior ID cards currently in circulation, they weren’t designed to be compatible with Key card readers. Nevertheless, riders will still need to show their ID cards to conductors or transit workers on the train to receive the discount.

To ensure that all seniors can easily acquire an updated ID card, SEPTA announced that eligible users can visit its Market Street headquarters for same-day processing.

Keeping Rail Efficient and Accessible

Affordable public transportation should be available to everybody, but a mass transit system can’t provide reliable service without properly maintained infrastructure. That’s why mass transit authorities need to invest in an effective rail lubrication program that ensures that trains run smoothly throughout the year.

Since 1975, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has helped mass transit systems across the country apply proven products that ensure optimal performance and reduce maintenance costs, in turn helping them keep fares low for riders young and old.

Our industry-leading rail lubrication product Glidex® is designed to settle onto track switches and form a protective barrier, keeping them properly lubricated while resisting extreme temperatures. Non-corrosive, non-conductive, and biodegradable, it’s stronger and more durable than graphite and petrochemicals and spares your infrastructure from harmful stains and corrosion.

However many thousands or millions of people your mass transit system transports every day, Midwest can work with you to develop a reliable and cost-effective solution for your maintenance needs.

Interested in using Glidex on your rail switches? Check out our products and applicators in the Midwest Store!

Eric Vantiegham is Midwest’s Rail & Transit Specialist. Skilled in product development, new business development, and strategic planning, he enjoys playing ice hockey and coaching his boys' youth teams.