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SEPTA Key Advantage UPass Program

Swarthmore College’s participation in SEPTA’s Key Advantage UPass Program enhances the living and learning experience for students at the College and strengthens our commitment to sustainability by encouraging the use of public transportation. This pilot program makes it easier for students to access the city of Philadelphia and surrounding counties by offering a free public transportation pass, the SEPTA Key Card, for use during the academic year. 

Your Key Card can be used anywhere on SEPTA’s network of subways, buses, trolleys, and regional rail lines during the fall and spring semesters — August through December and February through May. During those months, your pass will be valid at all times and on all services provided by SEPTA, with a 240-ride limit per month (8 rides per day). During off months — January, June, and July — your Key Card will still be active, but you will need to load your own funds if you wish to use it.

Who is eligible for this program?

If you are a full-time, actively-enrolled Swarthmore College student who is not currently participating in an exchange or study abroad program, you are eligible for this program. Students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges who are taking courses at Swarthmore are not eligible. Only eligible students can participate, and you will not be able to share, transfer, or sell Key Cards. 

How do I enroll in this program?

  1. Pick up your Key Card at the OneCard office, located at Parrish Hall 131A, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. Each eligible student will be provided with one free Key Card. 
  2. Register your new Key Card with SEPTA.
  3. After registering your card, you can enroll in the Key Advantage UPass Program. The enrollment process uses a platform called Jawnt. Eligible students will also receive an email with enrollment instructions directly from Jawnt. Newly enrolled cards will not be active until the following month.

What if I already have a SEPTA Key Card?

If you already have a SEPTA Key Card, you can enroll your current Key Card into the Key Advantage UPass program.  You will need to verify that your card does not have a negative balance as the Swarthmore pass cannot be loaded with a negative balance showing.  Credit can be applied to a negative balance on the SEPTA Key site.

What happens if I lose my Key Card?

If you lose your Key Card, you should report it lost to SEPTA. You can purchase a replacement Key Card at the OneCard office for $5.

Can I use my Key Card during program “off” months — January, June, and July?

In January, June, and July, your Key Card itself will be valid, but to use it you will have to load your own funds, as the Key Card UPass Advantage Program is only active during the academic year (August through December and February through May).  You will need to make sure that you do not go into a negative balance as the Swarthmore pass cannot be loaded with a negative balance showing.  Credit can be applied to a negative balance on the SEPTA Key site.

How can I make my way around the Philadelphia area on SEPTA?

The SEPTA Trip Planner helps you plan your trips around the city and surrounding areas — just put in your starting point and destination.

Swarthmore is a stop on SEPTA's regional rail system. Watch a quick, helpful video on how to ride the regional rail.

Can faculty and staff members participate in this program?

The College’s partnership with SEPTA is a pilot program, and will be reevaluated next summer to determine if and how it should continue. During the 2023-24 academic year, we will also evaluate the possibility of extending program access to faculty and staff members. Please look out for more information in the coming months, and reach out to with any questions.