Posts Tagged ‘SEPTA’

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.

SEPTA Still Pushing Rail Line Extension

December 3, 2020

Although it lacks funding for the project, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said it remains committed to an extension of the Norristown High Speed Line.

The $2 billion project would extend the route to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

SEPTA officials reviewed plans for the route and stations at an online public hearing held this week.

They said the 4-mile extension could go into operation between 2025 and 2027, but only if it gets full funding.

That prospect is uncertain amid budgetary constrains triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sent ridership plunging as more people work from home and/or curtail their travel.

Amtrak Keystone Line Signals Getting Upgrade

November 18, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is working with Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to upgrade signaling and train control systems between Paoli and Overbrook on the Keystone Line

The line extends from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to Harrisburg, and hosts Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service trains.

Between Philadelphia and Thorndale, the line also hosts SEPTA’s Paoli-Thorndale regional rail services.

In a news release, Amtrak said the new equipment will “enable greater operational flexibility and higher operating speeds, as well as help reduce delays.

SEPTA obtained a $15.9 million federal grant last month that will make the signaling work possible.

Akron Metro Wins FTA Grant

October 10, 2020

Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority has received a $450,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The funding will be used to study the potential economic effects of transit-oriented development on underutilized, publicly-owned or vacant property.

Akron Metro in partnership with the City of Akron will consider if it can provide service that would help to create job and housing opportunities in areas of persistent poverty.

The award was among 35 projects that received $17.6 million in funding.

The Hocking Athens Perry Community Action agency will receive $122,890 to study improved access to health care and other essential services in rural and low-income areas in Athens County.

The project will explore options for expanding Athens Public Transit’s service area and improving scheduling efficiency for better coordination between transit operators.

The agency will partner with CALSTART, a nonprofit organization, to assess scheduling software and analyze fare payment options.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority received two grants.

The Philadelphia-based agency received $742,000 to be used to pay for installation of an automated employee protection system to improve safety for workers doing track work.

SEPTA also received a $495,000 grant to pay for planning and design of an upgrade of transportation infrastructure on the Grays Avenue Corridor.

The agency said the corridor provides critical transportation connections from one of Philadelphia’s poorest communities to Center City jobs, healthcare and other services.

The project will redesign trolley stations to improve accessibility and add safety features such as improved pedestrian crosswalks and traffic controls.

The City of Detroit received $750,000 to improve access to food, transit services and healthcare facilities by identifying gaps in the transportation network in underserved communities.

The study will include a comprehensive survey to understand mobility challenges from the community perspective and assess potential partners for implementation.

1 Keystone Roundtrip Extended to New York

October 7, 2020

A daily Amtrak Keystone Service roundtrip has been extended to New York.

Starting Oct. 5, Nos. 652 and 641 began operating between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak said the schedule change now means there are two daily New York-Harrisburg roundtrips.

The route is also served by the New York-Pittsburg Pennsylvanian.

Other Keystone trains operate between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The service is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Some Keystone Service had been suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Keystone Service schedule now reflects 13 weekday roundtrips and seven roundtrips on weekends.

In an unrelated development, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has begun phasing out the sale of paper ticket sales on its regional rail system. 

Passengers are being encouraged to use SEPTA’s Key Card, a contactless, reloadable fare card.

Paper tickets previously purchased are valid for up to 180 days from their purchase date.