In Pennsylvania, two different fare-collecting systems are both being outfitted with new technology. But two questions have arisen: Will the systems be interoperable and will they take contactless credit cards as payment?
The struggle is between, the Port Authority Transit Corporation, which operates trains between Philadelphia and New Jersey and The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority operators of public transportation throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.
SEPTA is interested in getting a system that would use a new-generation Visa or MasterCard, making a bus or train ride just another retail transaction while PATCO introduced its Freedom transit card in November and expects all its stations to be converted to use the card by the end of the month. The card now works only on its system, but it is designed to be adaptable to others.
Meanwhile the American Public Transportation Association is promoting a cross-platform payment card. The association recently created a standard for transit cards enabling them to be used on any system. PATCO is the first agency to follow the standard for transit cards, but it’s not yet fully compliant with the guidelines.
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