Sign for a SEPTA trolley station. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

Starting this weekend, you might be able to save a few dollars on your SEPTA rides.

Base fares are staying steady, but as of July 1, the transit agency is expanding the number of free transfers for SEPTA Key holders using bus, trolley, or subway. It’s also expanding the scope of its weekly and monthly TransPasses to include some Regional Rail rides.

The two changes were wrapped into SEPTA’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

They’re both “important early actions” for the Reimagining Regional Rail initiative and the Bus Revolution, spokesperson John Golden told Billy Penn. The two projects are part of a wider effort to update and improve the transit system.

“This change, by supporting SEPTA’s larger efforts to integrate various modes together and [making] SEPTA services more seamless for everyone, allows people to choose faster or more frequent routes without worrying about which mode or paying for a second transfer,” Golden said in a statement.

General SEPTA fares haven’t gone up since the 2018 fiscal year, according to the budget proposal, since raises scheduled for 2021 were delayed by the pandemic. This year, however, could be SEPTA’s last without increasing fares or cutting service, CEO Leslie Richards told KYW last month, unless new funding streams are established, because federal COVID relief money is likely to be exhausted soon.

Here’s a rundown of what exactly has changed this year.

Two transfers free

Of the 81% of SEPTA riders who use a Key to pay their fares, around 10% make trips that involve two transfers, per the agency.

Starting with SEPTA’s 2021 budget, one transfer has been free for SEPTA Key holders on the Broad Street Line, the Market Frankford Line, buses, trolleys, and Norristown High Speed Line — as long as the transfer happens within a two-hour window. A second transfer was $1.

Now, instead of paying that extra dollar, riders of any of those transit modes can get a second free transfer within that same two-hour window. That means you can ride on three separate SEPTA vehicles for $2, as long as you tap onto your third ride less than 120 minutes after you tapped onto your first.

The additional free transfer is available to people paying using their SEPTA Key Travel Wallet. It’s also available for Reduced Fare customers and CCT riders.

SEPTA Key Tix, the transit agency’s new mobile ticketing option, will still only allow just one free transfer on each two-hour ticket.

Adding some Regional Rail access to TransPasses

Weekly and monthly TransPasses — which most recently covered just trips on buses, trolleys, the NHSL, the BSL, and the MFL — have an increased scope now.

The passes, priced at $25.50 for a week or $96 for a month, now include Regional Rail rides that begin and end at rail stations in Center City and Zone 1. The passes also now cover trips on the Airport Line.

Center City and Zone 1 stations include:

  • Temple
  • Jefferson
  • Suburban
  • William H. Gray III 30th St Station
  • Penn Medicine
  • Wynnefield Ave
  • Queen Lane
  • Chelten Ave
  • North Philadelphia
  • 49th St
  • Angora
  • Eastwick
  • East Falls
  • Allegheny
  • Germantown
  • Wister
  • Wayne Junction
  • North Broad
  • Fern Rock Transportation Center
  • Olney

On weekends and major holidays, you can use a TransPass on any Regional Rail line, regardless of what zone the stations are in.

Weekly passes max out at 56 rides, and monthly passes max out at 240.

The changes, according to SEPTA’s blog, mean that weekly TransPasses function just like Zone 1 TrailPasses — the weekly price of which SEPTA has lowered by $9 to match the cost of a TransPass.

The transit agency’s aim with the pass modifications is to “provide more useful services to more people across our region,” Golden said, “making transit and Regional Rail a more compelling option for different types of trips.”

Asha Prihar is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She has previously written for several daily newspapers across the Midwest, and she covered Pennsylvania state government and politics for The...