Swarthmore and other rail stations on the Media-Elwyn line will be modernized between now and the end of winter 2017. Already electrical upgrades have been installed at the Swarthmore station, preparing the way for installation of closed circuit TV cameras, emergency call boxes, station access control, and communication equipment.
The communications equipment represents a substantial upgrade for SEPTA. “All we have now are phone lines,” one station agent said. High-speed internet equipment will be deployed in support of the SEPTA key card system, which in the coming year will replace paper tickets and magnetic-striped rail passes with reusable contactless chip cards to be scanned upon entry and exit from regional trains.
The system has already been installed in some SEPTA buses, trolleys and subway stations in Philadelphia. By June, the key card system should be operational in Swarthmore and at other regional rail stops, as SEPTA nears its goal of unifying the payment system across all its transit modes.
Key cards will be SEPTA branded Mastercards which, when loaded with dollar value, can be used for transit fares. The cards will be scanned at entry points at subway stations, entry doors on buses and trolleys, and by conductors on regional rail cars.
SEPTA assistant vice-president of Engineering Robert Lund also noted that the Swarthmore station is in line for some more visible repairs this year. In late spring, work will begin to paint, re-roof, re-point masonry, replace windows and install skylights.