Posts Tagged ‘SEPTA’

SEPTA Increasing Rail Service Next Week

September 1, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said it will increase service across its system next week.

New schedules for buses, trolleys and high-speed rail went into effect Aug. 29 and 30 while new regional rail schedules will become effective on Sept. 5.

SEPTA said overall service will increase to 93 percent of pre-COVID levels. High-frequency bus and trolley routes will operate at pre-COVID levels.

 Parking at regional rail stations will continue to be free through October, and closed station sales offices will reopen by the first week in September.

SEPTA Releases 5 Year Strategic Plan

March 2, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has approved a five-year strategic plan for fiscal years 2021 through 2026.

The plan will be used to guide the agency’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as establish a vision for future growth.

“The pandemic has highlighted the important role SEPTA has in providing access to essential jobs and services,” said SEPTA Chairman Pasquale Deon Sr. in a statement.

“SEPTA will be at the center of our region’s recovery efforts, and this plan will play a critical role in laying the foundation for that work.”

The plan lists challenges disrupting its work and lays out steps to be taken to provide safe, reliable and accessible transportation.

SEPTA Wants to Use Pandemic Relief Funds for Rail Extension Project

February 26, 2021

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority wants to use $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to free up money for design and engineering work for its King of Prussia rail extension.

The 3.5-mile King of Prussia extension recently gained Federal Transit Administration approval of its final environmental impact review.

A SEPTA spokesman said redirecting the pandemic relief funds would not affect the agency’s ability to safely transport riders.

However, some transit advocates in the Philadelphia region expressed concern that the move could have an adverse effect on service levels.

SEPTA has proposed using the pandemic relief funds to pay for its lease of tracks owned by Amtrak.

SEPTA Opens Solar Power Farm

February 17, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has opened a 17.5-megawatt solar farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

In a news release, the transit agency said the Elk Hill 2 solar farm project was developed under a power purchase agreement between SEPTA and Lightsource to help reduce SEPTA’s carbon emissions.

It is one of two solar farms that SEPTA and Lightsource have developed in the past year.

Elk Hill 2 is expected to generate 27,377 MWh of  solar energy or nearly 10 percent of SEPTA’s 380,000 MWh per year electricity demand.

SEPTA said generation from a solar farm of this size and type can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19,360 metric tons of CO2 annually, the same as offsetting the emissions of 4,180 fuel burning cars each year.

Study Supports SEPTA Line Extension

January 18, 2021

The final environmental impact statement for a proposed extension of the Norristown High Speed Line of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority has identified a preferred route.

The Federal Transit Administration document described the 3.4-mile extension to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, as likely to generate an average of 6,755 weekday riders by 2040 of which 4,556 would be new users.

The double-track line is estimated to cost $2.08 billion to build and have annual operation and maintenance costs of $10.87 million.

Planning for the project began in 2012. The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision concluded the need for the project stems from current conditions of long travel times, delays due to roadway congestion and transfers that lead to two-or-more-seat trips.

The report also said some destinations targeted by the project are currently underserved or lack public transportation.

SEPTA to Serve Newark, MARC Suspends Service for Inauguration

January 16, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will resume weekday service at Newark, Delaware on Jan. 25.

SEPTA had suspended service to two stations on its Wilmington/Newark regional rail line due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Delaware service is being underwritten by the state at the Newark and Churchmans Crossing stations to provide travel options during an Interstate 95 construction project scheduled to start in February and last through 2023.

In an unrelated development, MARC will suspend commuter train service on all three of its routes starting Jan. 17 in advance of the presidential inauguration set for Jan. 20 in Washington.

Affected will be service to West Virginia on the Brunswick Line.

MARC said trains are expected to resume operating on Jan. 21 but it advised riders to check the Maryland Transit Administration Twitter feed or the MTA Transit app for more information.

The transit agency said the service suspensions are part of tightened security surrounding the inauguration.

SEPTA Lands Grade Crossing Safety Grant

January 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $40 million in grants to five states, including Pennsylvania, to fund projects seeking to improve safety at grade crossings.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority received $3,335,000 to install new gate systems at three crossings and pavement markings at 20 crossing locations in Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Other grants were awarded to public transit agencies in California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington.

The funds came from the Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement Grants Program  and were awarded by the Federal Highway Administration in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration.

To be eligible for a grant, a commuter authority must have experienced at least one accident investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2018, and for which the NTSB issued an accident report.

Transit Workers May be 2nd Priority for CVOID-19 Vaccine

December 23, 2020

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended giving public transit workers the COVID-19 vaccine during the second phase of immunizations that are expected to begin next month.

That would place transit workers into the second priority group of front line essential workers.

The first round of vaccinations began last week and largely involved health care workers.

In an unrelated development, a union representing workers at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said the agency’s COVID-19 policies create disincentives for workers to follow health and safety guidelines.

In a news release, Local 234 of the Transport Workers Union said SEPTA has mandated that if a third period of COVID-19 related quarantine is required, a worker would have to use his or her own leave and earn half-pay.

SEPTA provides paid leave to TWU members who have been exposed to the virus or presumed to have been exposed, but TWU officials said the policy may push workers struggling financially who have exhausted their paid leave to return to work while still potentially contagious or sick.

The union unsuccessfully sought to bring the issue up during a Dec. 15 meeting between SEPTA managers and union officials but, the union said, the managers declined to discuss the matter.

“We want everyone who is a possible risk to riders and coworkers to stay away,” said TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown.

“We should be creating incentives to be under quarantine, not disincentives. SEPTA is trying to save a buck because ridership is down, but making the workforce and riders sick won’t help the bottom line.”

Eight members of TWU 234 have died from COVID-19 and more than 400 have been infected, union officials said. 

In the latest statement TWU said it is considering legal action if SEPTA does not change its policies.

A SEPTA official told The Philadelphia Inquirer that fewer than 160 employees have used all 160 hours available for sick leave and that a legal battle is “the last thing” the agency wants.

SEPTA Wins FTA Grant

December 17, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation will receive a Transit-Oriented Development grant issued in a pilot program being overseen by the Federal Transit Administration.

The $360,000 award will used for planning of five stations on the proposed 4-mile King of Prussia rail extension of the Norristown High Speed Line.

The grant is part of $6.2 million in funding awarded by the FTA this week in support of nine planning efforts aimed at improving access to public transportation, including rail.

The projects are expected to improve access, encourage ridership and spur economic and mixed-use development near public transit services.

SEPTA to Close Rail Stations

December 13, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority plans to close 14 regional rail stations as of Monday because of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Affected will be ticket offices, waiting rooms, and restrooms. The stations are expected to be closed through next February.