July 15, 2016 |
When public transit is down, Uber swoops in to save the beleaguered commuter, spending millions to increase its coverage area. The app-based ride service insists its efforts to do so in Philadelphia are noble. But experts point out that helping SEPTA while a third of its Regional Rail fleet is down is also a savvy marketing tactic that attracts new customers to Uber. "This is a very shrewd business move on Uber's part," said economist Giacomo Santangelo, a lecturer at Fordham University.
July 14, 2016
The wholesale failure of SEPTA's new commuter railcars has been inconvenient, unsettling, and, to the extent transit officials cast it as the public's problem rather than theirs, exasperating. But it was not entirely unforeseeable. The tortuous process that led to SEPTA's star-crossed purchase of the 120 Hyundai Rotem cars now sidelined with structural flaws produced more warning signals than an active railroad crossing. To wit: SEPTA preliminarily awarded the quarter-billion-dollar contract to a Hyundai-led consortium in 2004 even though the agency's staff ranked the proposal last of four bids.
July 12, 2016 |
With leased railcars finally on hand, SEPTA announced a new schedule Sunday night to improve service that has been rocky since a third of its rail fleet was pulled from service more than a week ago. The new schedule - effective for Monday's commute - adds trains and stations, with tweaked stops and arrival times throughout SEPTA's 13 Regional Rail lines - promising some relief for commuters dealing with crowded cars and bypassed stops. The full schedule, including a list of specific changes, can be seen on PDFs at www.septa.org/service/contingency.html . The changes likely to benefit riders most, said Matthew Mitchell, vice president of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, are three additional trains from both Glenside and Bryn Mawr and two added trains on the Manayunk/Norristown Line.
July 11, 2016 |
SEPTA's railcar debacle has resulted in packed platforms, long waits, late trains and - for many riders - the miserable experience of waiting for a train only to see it race past without stopping. Can SEPTA do better? Some experts say yes. One of them, engineer and devoted straphanger Vukan Vuchic, says SEPTA should be using shorter trains, and running them more often - the exact opposite of what the agency is doing now. "More attention to the riders," recommended Vuchic, a University of Pennsylvania emeritus professor of transportation engineering.
July 10, 2016 |
It's increasingly likely SEPTA is facing the worst-case scenario for its diminished rail fleet. As a result, riders will see depleted service at least through Labor Day, officials said at Friday afternoon's news conference. While SEPTA hopes to ease the crunch with some borrowed railcars, "it's not looking good for a repair and a quick return to service" for the stricken vehicles, said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's general manager. SEPTA pulled 120 Regional Rail cars from service, a third of its fleet, after discovering cracks in key load-bearing beams last week.
July 9, 2016 |
The recent Regional Rail delays have turned riders' commutes into a guessing game of "when will my train come?" But these online and mobile tools can help take the uncertainty out of your travel plans and show you new ways to get to your destination. Transit apps. Transit Tracker, Transit App, Citymapper, and the SEPTA app all provide similar information on train and bus arrival times based on GPS data, where available. This means that the apps will tell you where your train or bus is, but typically with a three-minute delay.
July 8, 2016 |
Here is some advice on how to avoid the Regional Rail chaos. Tag-team transit. No need to stick to one mode of transportation. If you live near a Regional Rail station, take advantage of 40 percent off Uber rides to and from the stop - through Sept. 5 - and take the car-pooled ride to your nearest subway or trolley stop. The Norristown Elm Street Station is just a six-minute drive from the Norristown High Speed Line stop, Fox Chase is about 16 minutes from the Broad Street Line, Elwyn about five minutes from Media for the Route 101 trolley, and Trenton 30 to 40 minutes from Frankford Transportation Center.
July 6, 2016 |
With structural failures found in one-third of its train fleet, SEPTA officials announced Monday that the Regional Rail lines would be running on a modified Saturday schedule during the workweek and urged Regional Rail riders to shop for other ways of getting around. Repairs could take the rest of the summer, but riders who account for 150,000 trips on Regional Rail each day likely face crowded trains and big delays. Depending on the line, said Ron Hopkins, SEPTA's assistant general manager, capacity could drop as much as 50 percent.
July 5, 2016 |
Structural failures found in a third of SEPTA's train fleet are forcing more than 100 cars off the tracks indefinitely. Fixes could take the rest of the summer, but riders who account for 150,000 trips on Regional Rail each day will likely face crowded trains and big delays. "Unfortunately, it will be rough on our railroad customers," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's general manager. The flaw, a crack in a weight-bearing beam on a train car's undercarriage, has shown up in almost all of SEPTA's Silverliner V's, the newest trains in its Regional Rail fleet.
June 21, 2016 |
In another era, SEPTA's proposal to build a power plant in an industrial complex near its Wayne Junction station might have attracted little attention. SEPTA says the project, which would power most of the transit agency's northern Regional Rail system, will keep its trains running in case of a Peco blackout. It also says the $26.8 million plant will save money, and require no outlay for the cash-strapped agency. But SEPTA's proposed power plant would be fueled by natural gas, which despite its clean-burning attributes has become a lightning rod for anti-fossil-fuel activists.