Freedom Card

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Freedom Card
Location Philadelphia and South Jersey
Manager PATCO
Currency US $
Stored-value Pay as you go
Credit expiry 10 years (balance transferrable)
Auto recharge Autoload replenishment
  • Service Centers
  • Stations (paper card vending machines)
  • Reduced Fare Program (seniors, disabled)

The Freedom Card is a contactless smartcard fare collection system used by PATCO Speedline in New Jersey and Philadelphia.


The chip embedded in the card is a MIFARE DESFire EV1 with 4kb of storage, manufactured by NXP Semiconductors. Because it uses a common communication standard, the card serial number and manufacturing date can be read by modern smartphones that advertise support for near field communication. Balance/trip data stored on the card is encrypted and cannot be read by non-PATCO equipment.

When entering a station, cardholders are required to tap their card at the fare gate to gain access to the boarding area. To exit, cardholders are required to tap their card again at their destination. The system immediately calculates the total fare and subtracts it from the balance of the card. If the card has insufficient funds to pay for the fare, the rider will be prompted to visit a vending machine behind the gate to reload value on the card before being allowed to exit.

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