The base fares on SEPTA went up from $2 to $2.25 for the first time in 12 years. The Regional Rail zones were consolidated in preparation for the implementation of the New Payment Technology overhaul. But the most important of the changes to the region's trans and gender variant SEPTA riders is that the 'M' and 'F' gender stickers are no longer on the weekly or monthly SEPTA transit passes.
"As part of the effort to simplify fares and introduce an 'open' fare payment and collection system under the New Payment Technology (NPT) program, extra-fare zone charges will be eliminated on dozens of transit routes, and there will be some consolidation of zones on Regional Rail," SEPTA said in a statement released Thursday. "In addition, gender stickers will be eliminated on all passes for transit and Regional Rail."
It was a multi year battle to have the SEPTA gender stickers removed that started in 2007 when local activist Charlene Arcila was told she couldn't use her transpass because of a gender sticker that didn't match her presentation.
Arcila filed a successful complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations that led to several years of activism coordinated by a group called Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) around this gender sticker issue that sought to have SEPTA dump the gender stickers.
SEPTA stonewalled on the issue claiming they were in place since the 70's to prevent opposite gender spouses from using the same pass, but all those stickers were doing was setting the stage for the harassment of trans and gender variant SEPTA passengers.
The pressure kept building as the RAGE protests combined with support and resolutions calling on SEPTA to dump the stickers from several Philadelphia city council members led to an April 2012 SEPTA policy decision to eliminate the gender stickers in the second half of 2013.
So as of July 1 SEPTA's trans and gender variant riders no longer have to worry about the drama that used to get triggered when they boarded a bus or train with a trans pass that has a mismatched gender sticker because the gender marker stickers are gone from them.
And that's a good thing for the human rights of trans and gender variant people in the Philadelphia metro area and SEPTA transit zone who depend on the agency to take them where they need to go in the area.