I remember the days - it wasn't too long ago - that I use to pay my weekly sum in the school bookstore for a package of 20 tokens. Those tokens were my lifeline to get to and from North Catholic without much hassle. Adding in an extra sixty cents for a transfer mean that I could get from the 66 bus route to the Market-Frankford El with ease. Soon though, using tokens on Philadelphia mass transit will go to the way of North Catholic itself.
Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that work will be initiated on the long-awaited smart card project. Current estimates give September 2013 for seeing the system live on subways, busses and trolleys. The entire project is slated for completion around mid-2014.
Source: SEPTA builds new payment technology test facility, prepares for contactless system | PlanPhilly: Planning Philadelphia's Future