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Paul Nussbaum

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NEWS
July 25, 2012
SEPTA's assistant general manager of operations, Luther Diggs, will leave the agency next Tuesday. Diggs, 61, is retiring, said spokeswoman Jerria Williams. Diggs has been in charge of all vehicle operations, including trains, buses, subways, and trolleys, and he oversees the transit police. No replacement has been named. - Paul Nussbaum
NEWS
October 18, 2012
The Delaware River Port Authority is seeking new members for its Citizens Advisory Committee. The agency wants to fill four vacancies, three representing Southeastern Pennsylvania and one representing South Jersey. Applications are available online at www.drpa.org/drpa/citizen_adv_committee.html . They also are available at all four bridge administration buildings and at all PATCO stations. - Paul Nussbaum
NEWS
August 22, 2012
SEPTA's control center chief, Ronald G. Hopkins, was promoted Monday to assistant general manager of operations, to oversee the daily running of SEPTA's 2,000 buses, trolleys, subways, and commuter trains. Hopkins, a 22-year employee of the transit agency, will report to Jeffrey Knueppel, the newly appointed deputy general manager. Hopkins will assume the duties of Luther Diggs, the former operations chief who retired last month. - Paul Nussbaum
NEWS
March 15, 2013
SEPTA named a new chief engineer Wednesday to oversee its tracks, bridges, power facilities, and buildings. Andrew Gillespie, a six-year employee of the transit agency, will replace Jeffrey Knueppel, who was recently promoted to deputy general manager. Gillespie, who lives in Doylestown with his wife and three children, will be paid $160,000 a year. - Paul Nussbaum
BUSINESS
August 1, 2012
SEPTA is staging a three-day "Hack-a-thon" for local computer programmers to develop online applications to help transit riders. The program is designed to bring local tech talent to bear on ways to improve SEPTA's communication with its passengers. The event will be held Friday through Sunday at Devnuts, 908 N. Third St. More information is available at http://appsforsepta.org . - Paul Nussbaum  
NEWS
September 28, 2012
The Burlington County Bridge Commission, which operates the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol toll bridges, has approved a new annual budget that keeps auto tolls at the current $2. Tolls on the spans have not gone up since 2000, while those on nearby bridges operated by the Delaware River Port Authority have risen 67 percent, to $5. - Paul Nussbaum
NEWS
August 17, 2012
SEPTA has hired a suburban police chief with city and transit law enforcement experience as its new police chief. Thomas Nestel III, formerly the Upper Moreland police chief, will become SEPTA's top cop Monday. Nestel, 50, will replace Richard Evans, who recently retired. Nestel began his law enforcement career as a SEPTA patrol officer in 1982 and then spent 22 years with the Philadelphia Police Department, rising to the rank of staff inspector. Nestel also worked as a consultant to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, studying the effect of red-light cameras.
NEWS
March 16, 2013
SEPTA officials said Thursday they are working with city officials to reduce the effect of planned rail-fare hikes on workers at Philadelphia International Airport. "We are committed to the goal of making sure those workers are not adversely impacted," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. She said no specifics had been worked out with city and airport officials about how to ease the fare impact. As proposed, airport workers who take the train to and from work would face a doubling of their transportation costs, because SEPTA proposes to eliminate the use of bus and subway passes on the airport line.
NEWS
May 31, 2013
SEPTA and other area transit agencies will get $5.4 million in federal and state subsidies for additional "reverse commute" service to suburban employers. The money will pay for more bus service to Parx Casino, Neshaminy and Oxford Valley malls, Great Valley Corporate Center, Philadelphia International Airport and other job centers. SEPTA will also add earlier Regional Rail service to Philadelphia International Airport and to Paoli. The Federal Transit Administration will provide $2.2 million and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $3.2 million, funneled through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which announced the grants Thursday.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 1, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Giving Regional Rail passengers a last-minute reprieve, SEPTA officials on Friday reversed plans to invalidate rail tickets that were issued before the July 1 fare increase. SEPTA had angered riders by posting signs at ticket offices announcing that, effective Sunday, the old tickets would not be accepted for travel, even though tickets had been printed with a statement that they were valid for 180 days. "Conductors will be instructed to accept the tickets," SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said Friday, after inquiries from The Inquirer and the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers prompted the change.
NEWS
July 27, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The SEPTA board on Thursday approved a six-month, $640 million operating budget to keep trains and buses running while waiting for the state legislature to come up with additional money. The board also approved a bare-bones capital budget of $308 million for new vehicles and major construction for the full year. SEPTA, like other transit agencies in the state, "suffered an enormous disappointment" when the legislature went home July 1 without approving a plan to increase state spending for transportation, general manager Joseph Casey said.
NEWS
July 20, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Delaware River Port Authority has purchased iPads for some of its top officials to cut the printing and distribution costs of agendas and monthly reports. The DRPA expects the $9,000 cost of the iPads to be more than offset by an annual savings of $25,000 to $30,000 by getting rid of paper, spokesman Tim Ireland said. Twelve of the 16 DRPA commissioners will be issued iPads; the other four already have their own. Several senior staffers also will get DRPA-issued iPads, Ireland said.
NEWS
July 20, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA took another step Thursday toward patching together a budget to keep trains and buses running while waiting for the state legislature to come up with more money. The latest plan is to adopt a six-month, $640 million operating budget to get the agency through December. A SEPTA board committee reviewed the plan Thursday, and the full board is expected to approve it next week. SEPTA expects to be short $38 million for the full fiscal year, which ends June 30, if more state funding is not forthcoming.
NEWS
June 1, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA officials apologized Thursday for keeping Regional Rail passengers in the dark about rush-hour delays Wednesday evening that affected 68 trains. "Beyond the mechanical problem, we were also delayed in getting concrete information out to customers, and that only heightened frustrations," SEPTA said in a statement issued to riders Thursday. An empty Paoli/Thorndale train on its way from a rail yard to Center City broke down at 4:50 p.m. at a junction near 16th Street and Indiana Avenue in North Philadelphia, partially blocking a key intersection and making it difficult to operate switches, SEPTA said.
NEWS
May 31, 2013
SEPTA and other area transit agencies will get $5.4 million in federal and state subsidies for additional "reverse commute" service to suburban employers. The money will pay for more bus service to Parx Casino, Neshaminy and Oxford Valley malls, Great Valley Corporate Center, Philadelphia International Airport and other job centers. SEPTA will also add earlier Regional Rail service to Philadelphia International Airport and to Paoli. The Federal Transit Administration will provide $2.2 million and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $3.2 million, funneled through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which announced the grants Thursday.
NEWS
May 25, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA fares will increase July 1, but the transit agency's new budget, supposed to take effect at the same time, is still undetermined. The SEPTA board on Thursday approved increases that will boost the bus, subway, and trolley cash fare to $2.25 from the current $2. The cost of a token will go to $1.80, up from the current $1.55. Also on July 1, Regional Rail fare zones will change, with the current seven reduced to six. Zone 5, which includes distant suburban stations such as Yardley, Doylestown, Malvern, and Downingtown, will be eliminated.
NEWS
May 18, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Hoping for more money from the state, the SEPTA board is postponing action on its budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Fare increases are still expected on that date. The board's budget committee on Thursday proposed deferring until June any action on the $1.3 billion operating budget, which funds regular transit operations, and on the $308 million capital budget, which pays for major construction and vehicle purchases. Even with the fare increases slated for July, the fiscal 2014 operating budget has a $38 million deficit.
NEWS
May 17, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA may slightly reduce its fare hike and allow more rides on passes under changes offered to its planned overhaul of the fare-collection system. SEPTA plans sweeping changes that will start with fare hikes July 1. The cash fare will rise to $2.25 from $2, and a token will cost $1.80 instead of $1.55. Then, by the end of the year, electronic "smart" cards will replace tokens, passes, and transfers on subways, buses, and trolleys. And by mid-to-late 2014, Regional Rail travel is to be transformed by subway-style gates in Center City stations, electronic card-readers in the suburbs, and new fare zones everywhere.
NEWS
May 4, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Next month, workers will begin putting the lid on the makeover of Dilworth Plaza at City Hall, starting to give shape to what is supposed to be a $70 million, people-friendly space with cafe, glass-covered transit entrances, and fountains. Crews have done much of the underground work, with new passageways, elevator construction, and utility relocation, and they will start pouring concrete to create a new street-level surface in the third week of June, officials said Thursday during a tour of the site.
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