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SEPTA Nickle and Diming CCP students
So, this is the law, as far as I know it with SEPTA: They charge a two-dollar fare for the subway/bus, etc, when you don't have a token. The catch is that this should provide you with some incentive to buy tokens, because they are only 2.60 a pack, a huge 35 percent difference per ride.
There is always the issue of how easy it is and is not to buy tokens. IE, if SEPTA makes you have to jump through hoops to buy tokens, it doesn't seem quite right to make such a difference in price. (And, of course, they don't let the token takers at subway stations sell you tokens. If NYC can handle it, so can Philly. Anyway...) The solution is supposed to be token machines at all the subway stops. That solution has always been somewhat problematic, because a lot of times the token machines don't work. So, SEPTA agreed that if the token machines don't work, they would let someone pay the token fare to the cashier instead. Seems fair, right?
Well, what if they just don't have a token machine, at all? And in a station that caters to a ton of CCP students?
Yesterday, I went to the Phillies game, by way of the subway. I went down the stairs at Broad/Spring Garden, and there was no place to buy tokens. So, I tried to pay the cashier $1.30. He was not particularly interested in my protests that no machine and a broken machine are the same thing. He said to talk to the guys "upstairs" about why there was no machine anywhere in the station.
Broad/Spring Garden is the subway stop for anyone going to and from CCP. It undoubtedly serves tons of people. And, SEPTA has no token machine? I know this seems like small potatoes, but, we are talking about potentially raising the fare for CCP kids by 50 percent, whenever they didn't figure out a place to buy tokens in advance. That is not right, and, I think it actually may be violating the agreement that SEPTA has made.
Do I think that SEPTA does things like this purposefully? Probably not. But, it strikes me that SEPTA management probably just does not care. And, that just is not right. For a person struggling to get by, 2 bucks is a lot of money to ride the subway. I know about the agreement about tokens/broken machines only because of a family member who has battled SEPTA fare hikes for the past 20 years. There is no way the average person knows about it, and SEPTA takes advantage of that with their negligent behavior.
I am forwarding this post to Lance Haver, the City's consumer advocate. SEPTA should not be nickel and diming Philadelphia riders.