Penn Medicine, Drexel and Wawa will provide free SEPTA passes to employees - Philadelphia Inquirer

by Thomas Fitzgerald

SEPTA is looking for ways to rebuild ridership from the steep pandemic plunge.

Penn Medicine, Drexel University, and Wawa soon will offer free SEPTA monthly passes to thousands of their employees for travel on any of the public transit system’s services in an initiative to increase ridership, officials said Monday.

The move comes as system ridership remains far below what it was before the coronavirus pandemic upended daily life in March 2020. Fare revenue has plummeted and, like many transit agencies around the country, SEPTA has relied on federal emergency aid to maintain operations.


There are a few signs that recent spikes in the price of gasoline — $4.32 on average Monday in the Philadelphia region — could be nudging some riders back to buses and trains, but it’s too early to tell for certain.


In a longer play to win back riders, Penn Medicine, Drexel, and Wawa have agreed to pay $140 each for six months’ worth of passes for about 15,600 eligible workers, SEPTA officials said. The six-month demonstration project begins May 1, with a plan to make the arrangement permanent and expand it to other employers if it’s successful.


An “Anywhere” pass that gives access to all transit services plus regional rail normally costs individual riders $204 a month.


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