Septa's Line

Posted: April 02, 2003

SEPTA unveiled its budget yesterday, and it was no April Fool's joke.

The transit service is now facing a deficit the size of a Philadelphia pothole: $55 million for the fiscal 2004 budget.

The bad news shouldn't be a shock to anyone. The economic downturn that has affected private businesses is now being felt big time in the public sector. Now it's SEPTA's turn to squeal.

To make up the shortfall, the transit service is considering cutbacks and fare increases. Much of it makes sense. One item does not.

Along with discontinuing the R6 Cynwyd, R2 Warminster and R8 Chestnut Hill West rail lines, SEPTA is also proposing killing the R1 Airport line.

The line carries 4,000 workers and passengers to Philadelphia International Airport a day. Yet fares make up only 30 percent of the cost of running the line and closing it will save the SEPTA $3.250 million. A lot of money until you consider how vital it is for there to be a low-cost, fast connection between Center City and the airport. Airport workers will be especially hurt by this move. So will the tourism industry.

SEPTA faces real financial problems. But this is a reckless move that hurts the entire city and airport. It should find savings elsewhere. *

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