It's not easy using green.

The Philadelphia region's mass transit agency will charge 25 percent more for riders using cash by fiscal year 2014. Those using tokens will pay 30 cents more — up to $1.80.

The consolation prize: No more tokens by next year. SEPTA also will finish conversion to a system allowing riders to pay their fares by tapping a credit card, or even a phone, at the turnstile. SEPTA also will have its own basic smartcard, explains agency official John McGee.

"You can load it online. You can go to a sales office if you'd like to. You'll be able to go to one of our external outlets. You'll be able to go to a vending machine," he said. "You can be sitting on one of our vehicles and actually do a transaction right there."

When all is said and done, McGee says SEPTA's system will be at the cutting edge of mass transit.

To keep simplifying things for riders, SEPTA also will consolidate the zones of its regional rail lines, eliminating Zone 5 altogether.