Weekly Septa Transpass Replaced with Years-Long Student Fare Cards


On August 31, 2021, SEPTA and The Philadelphia School District replaced the weekly Transpass previously provided to students with a ‘Student Fare Card’ to help reduce our carbon footprint and provide contact-free transport during Covid-19.

The Fare Cards are made of reusable hard plastic and will remain active as the student remains eligible and enrolled in Friends Select. Students can “tap” the Fare Card up to eight times per school day between 5:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on any bus, trolley, or subway. Students may also spend $10 per 5-day school week to upgrade their Fare Card at designated SEPTA stations to take Regional Rail.

According to Alexandria Ross, an FSS Business Office Receptionist who distributes the Fare Cards, this replacement reduces the workload of staff at Friends Select. “The passes are much easier to distribute this way,” she says. “It helps to save time and takes away the need to sort cards every week.”

Harrison Li ‘22 thinks this change also brings convenience to students. “One card for the whole year is better than countless cards,” he said. 

In addition to being more convenient, Alexandria believes that the change also means being more environmentally friendly. She said, “This upgrade also cuts back on a ton of waste. It gets rid of wasting excess cards and cuts back on the plastic wrap packaging that the cards came in.” 

However, there are some downsides. “One disadvantage is that we no longer have any extra passes to give out to students,” Alexandria said. “Also, students who upgrade their pass to use the regional rail still have to do so weekly. A monthly upgrade option or an option to upgrade for the school year would be ideal.”
The new student Fare Card is part of a much bigger plan as SEPTA begins its next phase, which will include the ability for passengers to use their smartphones to tap into stations.