SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

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mcgrath618
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by mcgrath618 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am

Suburban Station wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:00 am
rcthompson04 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:32 pm

Regional Rail ridership is up as well. I suspect the shift we are seeing is largely tied to a non-SEPTA factor... the ease people have getting cars. The clientele that uses the buses and El are having one of the easiest times ever having cars.
regional rail ridership is down. it was declining prior to the s5 debacle (back when it was mainly poor schedules) and then cratered during the several months long S5 debacle . it has only partially recovered and remains well below pre Jeff K levels.

terrible bus connections =are not a function of any curse but priorities set by management.

in the FY20 ASP they list 114,680 daily riders on RRD, in the FY16 ASP it was 128k and had peaked above 130k (maybe 132k)

http://septa.org/strategic-plan/reports/asp16.pdf
http://septa.org/strategic-plan/reports ... e-Plan.pdf

parking remains an issue but SEPTA refuses to raise rates which might help cover the cost of parking but clearly it is not the only issue. it remains the only railroad without eticketing, does not accept cards, does not have ticketing machines, is not reliable.
That is concerning. We're certainly doing better than we were in the nineties, but a downward trend at a time when the nation is beginning to move away from cars is concerning. I'd be interested to see year-to-year though; namely last year to this year. The SLV crisis certainly hurt ridership in ways that we'll be feeling for a long time, but has ridership increased from 2018-2019? 2017-2018?

I pose a question to everyone here: would SEPTA benefit from pulling a Chicago? That is to say, would SEPTA benefit from splitting into two separate organizations, one handling Regional Rail (a la METRA), and the other handling rapid transit (a la the CTA)? The MTA manages to handle 2 regional rail systems, a bus system, and the largest subway network in the country. Meanwhile, SEPTA struggles to manage a single regional rail network, two subways, one interurban, and a bus/trolley system.

Suburban Station
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by Suburban Station » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:26 pm

mcgrath618 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am
That is concerning. We're certainly doing better than we were in the nineties, but a downward trend at a time when the nation is beginning to move away from cars is concerning. I'd be interested to see year-to-year though; namely last year to this year. The SLV crisis certainly hurt ridership in ways that we'll be feeling for a long time, but has ridership increased from 2018-2019? 2017-2018?

I pose a question to everyone here: would SEPTA benefit from pulling a Chicago? That is to say, would SEPTA benefit from splitting into two separate organizations, one handling Regional Rail (a la METRA), and the other handling rapid transit (a la the CTA)? The MTA manages to handle 2 regional rail systems, a bus system, and the largest subway network in the country. Meanwhile, SEPTA struggles to manage a single regional rail network, two subways, one interurban, and a bus/trolley system.
it's more than just the S5 problems. several months prior they broke apart the airport pairing which started the ridership declines and OTP issues.
FY19 report adds up to 112k
http://septa.org/strategic-plan/reports ... e-Plan.pdf

all in all, we've lost a lot of ridership on his watch. not all was controllable but the opposite is also true, not all of it was uncontrollable. scheduling, SEPTA Key, and basic lack of customer focus are the GM's job and he gets poor marks for all of them. it often feels like there is no real plan. past time for change.

I think splitting SEPTA up would only make sense if the city intended to dramatically increase funding for CTD otherwise I don't see the benefit. transit isn't doing well and there's been almost zero response to it. perhaps SEPTA needs an incentive structure that takes into account ridership satisfaction and overall ridership.

JeffK
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by JeffK » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:30 pm

mcgrath618 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am
would SEPTA benefit from pulling a Chicago? That is to say, would SEPTA benefit from splitting into two separate organizations, one handling Regional Rail (à la METRA), and the other handling rapid transit (à la the CTA)?
The eternal cynic in me says that while a split might make sense by keeping the railroad side from being run by people with a transit mindset, the region's parochialism would risk the two parts evolving separate, conflicting cultures* . There'd have to be some overarching administrative body that would prevent eventual (for instance) de-integration of fares or a separation of common facilities such as shared stations, etc. It could lead to a "lite" version of where we were back in the days of the PTC, PRR, and RDG. But that's just one guy's grousing; feel free to counter!

* I was thinking of how East and West Germany developed separately. Maybe without a concrete wall, though.
Requiem for it's/its, your/you're, than/then, less/fewer. They were once such nice words with such different meanings...

mcgrath618
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by mcgrath618 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:34 pm

Suburban Station wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:26 pm
mcgrath618 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am
That is concerning. We're certainly doing better than we were in the nineties, but a downward trend at a time when the nation is beginning to move away from cars is concerning. I'd be interested to see year-to-year though; namely last year to this year. The SLV crisis certainly hurt ridership in ways that we'll be feeling for a long time, but has ridership increased from 2018-2019? 2017-2018?

I pose a question to everyone here: would SEPTA benefit from pulling a Chicago? That is to say, would SEPTA benefit from splitting into two separate organizations, one handling Regional Rail (a la METRA), and the other handling rapid transit (a la the CTA)? The MTA manages to handle 2 regional rail systems, a bus system, and the largest subway network in the country. Meanwhile, SEPTA struggles to manage a single regional rail network, two subways, one interurban, and a bus/trolley system.
it's more than just the S5 problems. several months prior they broke apart the airport pairing which started the ridership declines and OTP issues.
FY19 report adds up to 112k
http://septa.org/strategic-plan/reports ... e-Plan.pdf
Then we're on an upward trend. The Airport Line situation is horrid for sure, but it's not like we're on a rapid decline. 112k to 114k is healthy growth. I'd obviously prefer it to be more, which I think can still be put on OTP (or lack thereof).
JeffK wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:30 pm
mcgrath618 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am
would SEPTA benefit from pulling a Chicago? That is to say, would SEPTA benefit from splitting into two separate organizations, one handling Regional Rail (à la METRA), and the other handling rapid transit (à la the CTA)?
The eternal cynic in me says that while a split might make sense by keeping the railroad side from being run by people with a transit mindset, the region's parochialism would risk the two parts evolving separate, conflicting cultures* . There'd have to be some overarching administrative body that would prevent eventual (for instance) de-integration of fares or a separation of common facilities such as shared stations, etc. It could lead to a "lite" version of where we were back in the days of the PTC, PRR, and RDG. But that's just one guy's grousing; feel free to counter!

* I was thinking of how East and West Germany developed separately. Maybe without a concrete wall, though.
We share the same worries. If SEPTA were to split, I would hope it'd come with a boost from the city and state. Splitting would especially make sense if the city wanted to expand the subway network.

SEPTA is often accused by outsiders and insiders alike of micromanaging. So, wouldn't giving upper management less to focus on improve this?

Suburban Station
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by Suburban Station » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:07 am

mcgrath618 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:35 am
Then we're on an upward trend. The Airport Line situation is horrid for sure, but it's not like we're on a rapid decline. 112k to 114k is healthy growth. I'd obviously prefer it to be more, which I think can still be put on OTP (or lack thereof).
there is nothing healthy about losing 20k plus daily riders no matter how you want to spin it. You cant lose sight of the bigger picture, over his tenure ridership is way down and car ownership is up and congestion is worse.

I think septa should be given broad goals such as increasing ridership and customer satisfaction. Think of septa as the contractor, they are tasked with service delivery.

If mgmt needs a culture change then an outsider should be brought in. Admittedly joe casey was an insider and much more effective than knueppel but it stands to reason you want to bring someone in from a culture you want to emulate.
I also think that at least one of the bord members should be required to be from that county's transportation office

NorthPennLimited
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by NorthPennLimited » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:08 am

Change is good.

Performance and ridership is cyclical on Regional Rail.

In the early 80’s ridership tanked during the 100 day SEPTA strike. Over the years, ridership numbers recovered, then Railworks shut down the railroad between Fern Rock and Market East and ridership plummeted again. Then gasoline prices started skyrocketing in the late 90’s and ridership increased.

Now SEPTA is in a period where rebuilding the system requires the railroad to be shut down on certain lines during off peak and weekends forcing suburbanite passengers to ride the dreaded bus. When things are normal, it seems in the last few years, train cancellations due to engineer shortages or equipment problems has become the new “normal” making the system unreliable if you MUST be at work or home at a precise time.

And even when things are running perfect, there are the “usual delays” due to PTC, Train scheduling conflicts at junctions and Interlockings, and just plain too many trains running with less than 5 minute headways in certain places.

The recent service irregularities can easily be fixed with a competent management team with some experienced railroad people sprinkled within the organizational chart.

Until the railroad can start running faster and more reliably, I don’t think the pendulum will shift towards ridership increases again. Most of the loyal riders stay because (1) it’s cheaper than driving downtown or (2) it’s faster to get downtown by train than by automobile.

I read that MBTA in Boston is looking to electrify the railroad and build a tunnel between North Station and South Station. Maybe they will hire Knueppel to be a contract project leader.

I’m looking forward to seeing what changes (if any) the new General Manager brings to Regional Rail

MACTRAXX
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by MACTRAXX » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 am

NPL (and Everyone:)

Yes-performance and ridership is cyclical on Regional Rail...

You must take note to the Commuter Rail System problems that would eventually lead
to the 108 day strike in the spring of 1983 against SEPTA which was a result of three
fare increases during 1980 totalling about 50 percent which led to CR ridership losses
leading to the system-wide July 1981 service cutbacks. The summer of 1981 includes
the former RDG diesel routes ending service.

Commuter Rail system ridership dropped off beginning in 1980 even with gasoline
supply problems continuing into 1980 after the second 1970s gasoline shortage in
1979 as a result of a combination of high inflation and the fare increases.

The Conrail years (4/1/1976 to 12/31/1982) was an interesting period of contract operation of SEPTA funded rail service in which due to the lack of funding and support
from governments during the early 1980s service would deteriorate with rail expenses
rising around 20 per cent per year on average during the early 1980s. It was clear that
Conrail wanted out from passenger rail service contracts in the northeast...

The 1983 108 day strike was the result of trying to lower rail system employee wages down to the equivalent of CTD levels of pay.
Large cuts in pay would have resulted for former Conrail unionized railroad workers
under SEPTA direct operation.

Regional High Speed Lines ridership would reach its lowest point in 1984 even with
incentives such as the fare decreases taking effect in the Fall of 1982 (Trailpasses
were introduced replacing calendar monthly rail tickets) and service increases that
began to be implemented during 1983 - SEPTA's first year of direct operation. 1983
1984 (November-CCCC) would be the last period of two separate RHSL services.

The late 1970s/early 1980s era were the toughest in the history of what would become
the SEPTA Regional Rail Lines - I refer to these years as "The Bad Old Days" and that
they never go back to the numerous problems from those years. We all can look back
and see just how close the Philadelphia region came to losing this system altogether.

Railworks affected the Reading side of the RRD system during the two shutdowns in
1992 (six months May-October) and 1993 (four months May-August) for a 10 month
period. Three routes remained in operation (Lansdale-Doylestown, West Trenton and
Warminster) with the others (Norristown, Chestnut Hill East and Fox Chase) closed.
The loss in RRD ridership was from the Reading side during those two years.
The Pennsy side was primarily unaffected during the two shutdown periods.

MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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mcgrath618
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by mcgrath618 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:49 am

NorthPennLimited wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:08 am

And even when things are running perfect, there are the “usual delays” due to PTC, Train scheduling conflicts at junctions and Interlockings, and just plain too many trains running with less than 5 minute headways in certain places.
How does PTC affect OTP?

MACTRAXX
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by MACTRAXX » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:29 pm

Everyone:

I took note to the thoughts of dividing SEPTA which would separate Regional Rail for the rest of the transit system.
What makes SEPTA unique is that it is a unified system in which one legacy pass type
can be used instead of having to purchase other passes only valid on separate systems.

Something I remember from the Commuter Rail days of the early 1980s was reading that the main reason
that the four outlying counties were part of SEPTA was having Commuter Rail as part. Operating the CTD
as a separate Philadelphia-only operation would have likely encountered state funding problems from anti-Philadelphia politicians in the PA government back when relying on yearly grant funds was normal.

During that same early 1980s period the decision was made to construct the Center City Commuter Tunnel
(or "Connection") unifying both electrified Commuter Rail systems. I remember reading that Philadelphia's
then-Mayor Frank L. Rizzo decided that this improvement project would mean more to the City then a BSL
extension to the Northeast with the government funding available at the time. The CCCC may have helped
save the Regional Rail system when its very existence had been threatened.

How would dividing Regional Rail from the rest of the SEPTA system be accomplished today?
Can we still think "United We Stand" instead of divided...in the case of SEPTA?

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

rcthompson04
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by rcthompson04 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:49 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:29 pm
How would dividing Regional Rail from the rest of the SEPTA system be accomplished today?
Can we still think "United We Stand" instead of divided...in the case of SEPTA?
I think with political change in all the counties now, it might make sense to have a discussion over how much funding the counties provide SEPTA. Part of that discussion might be specifically laying out additional county resources being dedicated to suburban county commuter rail projects. If the suburban counties could come up with an additional $50 million a year between the four of them ($16 million from Montco, $11 million from Delco, $12 million from Bucks, and $11 million from Chester). None of these numbers would break the budget of any county and would speed up a lot of regional rail projects. I would split the additional $50 million between expansion of service, additional parking, and new equipment on top of existing federal, state and local funding. If a county wants its project to move forward faster, it could give more.

septaglizzy27
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by septaglizzy27 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:12 pm

if he does that. the new GM probably would consider bringing back the Pottsville/Reading, Bethlehem, Newtown, Newark Penn, West Chester, and maybe the Newtown square lines

Suburban Station
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Re: SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel to leave SEPTA

Post by Suburban Station » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:41 pm

Ridership isn't, or shouldn't be cyclical. Ridership from the 80s didnt recover until the mid aughts. The lesson shouldn't be that it's okay to eliminate ridership and then spend three decades getting it back, it's that these disruptions should be avoided and minimized whenever possible because it is so difficult to regain lost customers, particularly once they buy a car or change jobs.

Given that knueppel oversaw the installation of catenary that later had to be replaced, mbta should look elsewhere for expertise

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