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From Taxis to Transit - ABC Seniors' SEPTA Key Advantage Story
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From Taxis to Transit - ABC Seniors' SEPTA Key Advantage Story

As a local business trying to cut costs while still contributing to the city's economic ecosystem, ABC Seniors has made the pivot from taxis to transit for their many traveling employees. With SEPTA's Key Advantage program, the result has been lower monthly transportation bills and excited employees, grateful for an All-Access ticket to their city.

Leo Walsh
March 10, 2023

Too Many Taxis

How do we stop spending so much money on taxis?

That’s what Gerald Mack and Bryant Greene of Always Best Care Senior Services (ABC) were trying to figure out as 2022 came to a close. ABC, located on the corner of Broad and Federal Streets in South Philadelphia, was using too much of their monthly budget on taxis for their at-home caregivers who spend their days traveling to and from homes throughout Philly, Lower Bucks & Delaware Counties, and the Main Line. All in all, ABC was tallying hundreds of miles traveled each month - all by taxi or rideshare. Hundreds of miles traveled via a third-party car service means thousands of dollars paid.

The ABC office on the corner of Broad and Federal Streets in South Philly.

“We wanted to be first and try something different and new,” said Mack, ABC’s Senior HR Manager, about their adoption of rideshare a few years ago. “So we went with [rideshare] and it was okay for a while. And then it just got out of hand.”

As the calendar year came to a close, they decided that this model was simply not sustainable. They couldn’t afford to spend so much on transportation, so they started looking elsewhere.

An Advantage

That’s when Greene, the Founder & Owner/Administrator of ABC’s Philly branch, heard from a friend about SEPTA’s new Key Advantage program offering Philadelphia employers the ability to purchase deeply discounted monthly SEPTA passes for their employees, and his ears perked up.

With a 90% discount to employers for an All-Access SEPTA pass, Key Advantage was an obvious solution to their taxi troubles, but Greene saw this program’s value beyond just the monetary benefits. He felt that his company carrying this program’s flag would do much more for the company, its employees, and the city than just improve their bottom line. Greene wanted ABC to be the first home healthcare company in Philly to offer this benefit, and he hoped that if other companies in the area saw that ABC and their many traveling caregivers could enjoy this benefit, others could follow suit.

Key Card Shuffle

By mid-January, ABC wanted to move quickly with implementation and onboarding, hoping to have employees riding SEPTA on the first of the next month. But before sharing the news with the team, ABC needed to make sure that their employees would be able to easily get their hands on their own SEPTA Key Card if they didn’t already have one of their own. So ABC asked SEPTA if they could pre-order a stack of Key Cards to be delivered to ABC’s South Philly office so that any employee who needed a card could pick one up.

SEPTA’s response: “absolutely!”

Sophia Bottaro (left) and Natia Bing (right), both of ABC’s HR team, showing off their All-Access SEPTA Key Cards.

And with that, the contract was signed. A few weeks later, the Key Cards were hand-delivered to ABC’s office with plenty of time for a February 1st start date. SEPTA and jawnt even sent representatives on-site to help ABC employees register their new Key Cards on SEPTAKey.org and enroll in the program through jawnt’s user-friendly platform.

Though Mack was initially concerned that the implementation of this program might be a bit heavy on his already busy HR team, they have found the enrollment process to be quite easy. To make things as simple as possible on the HR side with eligibility and enrollment, the jawnt platform syncs with ABC’s HR system to keep track of who is eligible for the benefit.

“Enrollment works like that,” said HR Assistant Dara Robinson as she snapped her fingers. “It’s easy.”
Dara Robinson, HR Assistant for ABC, who commutes from Northeast Philly every day, taking the Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Lines using her Key Advantage pass.

“Too good to be true”?

Most importantly, the employees have enjoyed it, too. One such employee, Tracy Burnett, was born and raised in Philly and said she’s been riding SEPTA her whole life. She was spending about $200/month on weekly SEPTA passes to get to work, but now those $200 stay safe in her bank account.

“It’s so convenient,” Tracy said of the benefit as her turquoise SEPTA Key Card hung from the lanyard around her neck. “I feel like I never have to miss work, even if it’s a storm!”

As an HR Admin, Robinson has heard similarly satisfied sentiments from caregivers who are ecstatic that the benefit goes beyond just their daily work commute: “They can’t believe it, they think it’s too good to be true. They’re like ‘we can ride all day? Even when we’re not working?’

I was like, ‘you can ride all day. Anywhere and everywhere.’ And they were like ‘ok, sign me UP!’”

Gerald Mack, ABC’s Senior HR Manager, scanning his All-Access SEPTA Key Card for the Broad Street Line.

Key Advantage offers employees a major financial benefit, since riders can use their All-Access SEPTA pass even when they’re off the clock, greatly alleviating the major financial burden of transportation from the day-to-day.

“Oh, the people I’ve talked to, they’re ecstatic,” said Mack.

“Being able to use it anytime, it’s not restricted to certain work hours, they can get on the Regional Rail. And for the people who come in on Saturday… they’re real happy and appreciative of that.”

Though only a few months in, Mack and Greene appear to have found an answer to their question, How do we stop spending so much money on taxis? And while the SEPTA Key Advantage program is indeed saving ABC Seniors quite a bit of money, it seems that giving their employees the freedom to explore their wonderful city whenever they want has proven to be the biggest boon of this benefit.

To echo the words of ABC's caregivers, “sign me UP!”

A scene from SEPTA's 13 Trolley in West Philly.

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About jawnt

jawnt is a Philadelphia-based technology company focused on helping more people access their cities through public and shared transit. jawnt partners directly with transit and mobility providers to increase the ease of purchasing and using transit. The jawnt platform enables employers to offer better, unified transit benefits for their entire workforce and includes HR/benefits integrations, commute planning tools, analytics, and ongoing support. The city is yours again – with jawnt. For more, visit jawntpass.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leo Walsh

The jawnt blog

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