July 23, 2016 |
Anticipating traffic congestion from the Democratic National Convention and the SEPTA rail crisis, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday passed an emergency order allowing Uber to temporarily put older cars on the road in Philadelphia's suburbs. The PUC voted 4-0 to lift restrictions requiring vehicles to be no older than 10 model years and have no more than 350,000 miles on the odometer. The order will allow Uber to deploy vehicles 15 model years and newer in its service in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.
July 23, 2016 |
SEPTA's board chairman said Thursday that he has no second thoughts about buying the railcars that were recently pulled from service due to flaws found in one of their key components. "I was very comfortable with those guys being able to do the job," said Pasquale "Pat" Deon, referring to Hyundai Rotem, which received the contract to build 120 cars 10 years ago. Deon was board chairman at the time. Hyundai Rotem's railcars, the Silverliner V's, were delivered from 2010 to 2013 and this month were revealed to have fatigue cracks in equalizer beams, pieces that transfer weight from a car to the axles.
July 22, 2016 |
It's been a dismal summer for SEPTA's rail commuters. But one group has been faring especially badly: the disabled. "There's a harsh irony to the fact that the newest, most accessible [cars] are the trains that had to be taken out of transportation," said Matthew Clark, an advocate for disability rights with the Fair Ride Philly Coalition, who uses a wheelchair. Disabled riders have also criticized the newer ride service Uber, saying it hasn't done enough on access. Many disabled find trains and cabs too inconvenient to deal with and often avoid them, Clark said.
July 21, 2016 |
A flawed weld that attaches a plate to a key weight-bearing beam is at the root of SEPTA's rail-car woes, the company that built the cars acknowledged for the first time Tuesday. "The design of how it was welded and the weld itself are in question," Andrew Hyer, marketing and business-development manager at Hyundai Rotem, said Tuesday in the company's first extended comments since cracks in the beams forced SEPTA to pull one-third of its rail cars from service. "How we decide to weld the material may make all the difference," Hyer said.
July 20, 2016 |
Joseph G. McCormick, 60, of Newtown Square, a managing director at the asset management firm PFM Group, and a former lobbyist for public and corporate entities, died Sunday, July 17, of complications from cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. McCormick had been hospitalized for six days prior to his death, which "came as a shock to his many friends and associates," business partner John White said in an email. For the last 12 years, Mr. McCormick was an executive with the PFM Group, a national financial adviser and asset manager.
July 19, 2016
ISSUE | SEPTA How thorough are regular inspections? Two editorials gave credit to SEPTA for having detected the structural fault in commuter railcars before there was any injury ("No time for slow route," July 7; "SEPTA trains' tortuous track," Wednesday). For that, all train travelers are blessed. I wonder, however, how thorough safety inspections were when, after seeing that one coach was out of kilter, SEPTA determined that 115 of 120 Silverliner V coaches had structural cracks and all of them needed to be taken out of service immediately.
July 17, 2016 |
SEPTA said Friday that it has leased 10 more rail cars to ease the crowding and delays that have plagued Regional Rail service during July. Schedules will be adjusted as of Monday to reflect the additional cars and make the best use of 18 leased cars already in service, the transit agency said. The crowding and delays are the result of cracks found in 115 of SEPTA's Silverliner V cars, which led the agency to pull all 120 cars from service two weeks ago. Officials say they hope to announce the results of their investigation into the cracks next week.
July 16, 2016 |
In car after car, the trouble spot was the same: Hairline cracks along a joint where contractors had welded steel plates no bigger than an ice cream sandwich. On Thursday, SEPTA engineers offered the first public look at the cracks that sidelined 120 rail cars, upending the daily commute for thousands of passengers since early July. Still unclear is what caused the cracks, in most cases barely noticeable to the untrained eye, but officials said they hope to have an answer next week.
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.