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NEWS
January 25, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
More than 320 SEPTA vehicle operators, including about 20 percent of all train engineers and conductors, did not report for work Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of many trains and buses, SEPTA officials said Thursday. On Thursday, as offices and schools reopened and commuters returned to work, SEPTA operators did too. Absenteeism on Thursday was typical for a winter weekday, SEPTA officials said, with about 5 percent of engineers and conductors out. On Wednesday, SEPTA canceled 91 of 742 trains, and on-time performance was only 25 percent.
NEWS
January 24, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
IT TAKES MORE than a badge and tactical gear to become a law-enforcement officer. But one Kensington man doesn't seem to subscribe to that philosophy: He's spent the last four years passing himself off as a law-enforcement agent, complete with official-looking gear and an attitude to match. And until last month, when he threatened a SEPTA transit detective, his only punishment was probation and court-ordered mental-health treatment. Deion Deans, 31, of Lippincott Street near Jasper, faces a preliminary hearing this morning on charges of terroristic threats, impersonating a public servant and related offenses in the incident with the SEPTA detective - the latest chapter of bizarre behavior that includes making his own car stops and passing off a vicious pit bull as a K-9 dog. "This is a guy who threatened police officers with arrest; that's just not normal behavior," SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel said.
NEWS
January 23, 2014
Douse with a tweet I was only half surprised that Philadelphia smoking rates are among the highest, having often been agitated by the smell of smoke in subway stations, school stairwells and bathrooms, and on city streets ("New fronts in tobacco fight," Jan. 10). Stronger measures can be developed by the federal government through taxation and graphic labeling, but it's also important to appeal emotionally to smokers, especially teens. Antismoking campaigns need to show the effects of secondhand smoking, not only statistics.
NEWS
January 12, 2014 | By John Timpane, Inquirer Staff Writer
'Information is now a core of our business," says Kim Scott Heinle. He is assistant general manager of customer service at SEPTA. You'd think he'd be talking about snow and ice, bus detours, dead equipment, backward-rippling train delays. But here he is, talking like some IT guy: "It used to be just running buses, trains, and trolleys, but now it's information, too. " "Our riders want it," says Ron Hopkins, assistant general manager of operations. And they want it "in real time.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 26, 2013 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA's 69th Street Transportation Center, a maze of tangled tracks and roadways leading to cavernous bus, trolley, and subway-car barns, isn't what you'd think of as a hot spot of holiday cheer. But on a recent Thursday morning, while walkie-talkies squawked with complaints about a minor trolley derailment, sisters Deina McLaughlin, 38, and Denita Birton, 49, were intent on spreading the spirit of the season. For the sisters, decorating SEPTA buses, trolleys, and High Speed Line cars has become a holiday tradition - and they don't hold back.
NEWS
December 21, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
With new state funding on the way from the recently signed transportation law, SEPTA has switched from doomsday threats to promises of a grand restoration. SEPTA will move quickly to replace aging vehicles and infrastructure, to keep trains and trolleys running on routes that had been threatened with extinction, deputy general manager Jeffrey Knueppel told the SEPTA board Thursday. SEPTA hopes to double its annual spending for vehicle purchases and construction projects to $600 million within five years, Knueppel said.
NEWS
December 20, 2013 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
A FEW MONTHS ago, SEPTA officials were glumly pondering a doomsday budget plan that would've sliced 'n' diced the agency until it was a barely recognizable jack-o-lantern version of itself. But at a board meeting yesterday afternoon, those same officials were positively giddy as they outlined an ambitious five- to 10-year capital-improvement program that will see many sorely needed repairs and upgrades finally come to fruition. The agency also approved a final $1.28 billion budget for fiscal year 2014, which no longer has a projected $38 million shortfall, thanks to internal cost cuts.
NEWS
December 13, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Stymied again in their efforts to fix broken escalators at commuter train stations in Center City and South Jersey, PATCO officials on Wednesday agreed to pay SEPTA $100,000 to do the work. By Wednesday afternoon, SEPTA crews were working on escalators at the Ashland and Lindenwold stations in New Jersey and on an elevator at the Eighth and Market station in Center City. A $1.39 million maintenance contract approved in September with the escalators' manufacturer has fallen through, leaving PATCO back where it was after the previous repair contract was allowed to lapse in July.
NEWS
December 12, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
After months of trying to fix broken escalators at commuter train stations in Center City and South Jersey, PATCO may demolish and replace some of the equipment. That process could take nine months or more. PATCO riders have been dealing with broken escalators and elevators since July, when transit agency officials let a maintenance contract lapse. An emergency plea to SEPTA for help, apologies from the PATCO board, and a new maintenance contract have brought only marginal relief to many riders.
NEWS
December 11, 2013 | BY DANA DIFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
YOU'D THINK wounded pride might be the only souvenir a Detroit Lions fan would have taken home from Sunday's loss to the Eagles. Instead, Pawel Gorzelewski got blood in his urine and a helluva headache. The Michigan native says he got jumped and beaten unconscious after he left Lincoln Financial Field by a pack of Eagles fans enraged by his Lions sweatshirt. After he came to, he tried to head home - but a turnstile cashier at a subway entrance laughed at him as passing Eagles fans threw trash and snowballs at him, said his fiancee, Julie DiLeo.
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