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New SEPTA Fare System Would Include Payments Via Cell Phone

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - SEPTA is inching closer to having what other transit systems have used for years -- smart card technology to replace tickets and tokens. But that delay may have a side benefit: your phone could serve as the smartcard.

SEPTA has gone through at least a two-year delay in awarding a contract to convert all fares on buses, trains and subways to smartcards.

SEPTA's chief of new payment technologies, John McGee, says the delay may have helped because the system now can include what's called mobile payment technology, in which your cell phone serves as the smartcard.

"You're tagging it. There's an RFID (radio frequency ID) chip that's contained in contactless credit and debit cards, but also in cell phones -- new smart phones," he said. "As phones change over, they will have this technology. I think its going to become very popular."

Formal approval of the smart card system is expected by the SEPTA board this fall, with a price tag in the area of $100 million.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060

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