• SEPTA Will Cut Railroad Lines, Stations, and Eliminate Most Trolleys If New Funding Not Secured

  • Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.
Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

  by MikeBPRR
 
The Inky is reporting that SEPTA may have to cut A LOT of service if they don't get funding to replace lost turnpike payments, future turnpike payments, and lost revenue.

Some lowlights:

No trains past Exton or Lansdale, only one stop between Glenside and Warminster, no stops between Chester and 30th Street...and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
A “service reduction plan” over the next 10 years would turn city trolley routes, as well as the Sharon Hill Line, into bus lines; eliminate the Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, and Fox Chase Regional Rail Lines; cut more than 100 stations on the nine remaining Regional Rail lines; suspend service on the Broad-Ridge Spur; reduce frequency on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines; and limit service on the Norristown High Speed Line.
PennDOT can't cover the shortfall by itself.
The turnpike delayed payment to PennDot in July, and future payments are uncertain. PennDot can commit to giving SEPTA $97 million in capital funds from the Turnpike and other sources from a budgeted $349 million this fiscal year, according to Richards’ written testimony shared with The Inquirer. SEPTA’s fiscal year began July 1.
It looks like maintenance is already being affected.
“We have identified $250 million in capital projects — this includes bridges, station accessibility, electric bus procurements — that will need to be stopped or delayed,” Richards testified. “This will impact jobs and economic activity and both of these are greatly needed in this area.”
I feel like this pandemic may actually kill a lot of the heritage in our area. If you look at the map from the article, which I have linked here, the cuts are even worse when you see the stations eliminated. The writing isn't very legible, but you can make out what will be gone.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Is there a specific date which SEPTA must get funding by before they start any of these cuts? The MTA un New York is going through similar cost cutting efforts due to a massive defecit, but not as bad as this. :(
  by MelroseMatt
 
But even with the massive cuts, the Wawa extension is on the new map, as "Middletown" station.
Also, I'm calling out the claim that the Broad St. Subway in South Philly will be "special events only.". Running trains for eagles games still means the tracks and signals and infrastructure still needs to be maintained. The cost of that maintenance and the minimal use of the line won't coexist for long. Either regular subway service will be maintained, or the line will be shut down completely.
  by WashingtonPark
 
MelroseMatt wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:25 am But even with the massive cuts, the Wawa extension is on the new map, as "Middletown" station.
Also, I'm calling out the claim that the Broad St. Subway in South Philly will be "special events only.". Running trains for eagles games still means the tracks and signals and infrastructure still needs to be maintained. The cost of that maintenance and the minimal use of the line won't coexist for long. Either regular subway service will be maintained, or the line will be shut down completely.
Having worked several decades at PATCO I absolutely agree with you that it will be one or the other. I'm thinking it's a bluff to get the funds, but if not shutting down completely would be the option if it's not run on a regular schedule.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone:

The funding situation that SEPTA is now encountering is the worst since the "bad old days"
of the first half of the 1980s decade - the five year period of 1980 to 1984 to be precise.

At least the "backbone" of the system will be kept in place - The MFSE and BSL for starters.
Replacing routes such as the 102 with buses was not even explored in the past.

In fairness there were some significant improvements during those years.
The Kawasaki Broad Street B-4 fleet (1982-83) and the LRV cars (1980-81)
of two types used on seven routes basically stand out - and are all still in
service to this day.

The Commuter Rail situation in the 1980-1984 period was bad enough that at one point
the entire system was threatened to be shut down. Lines such as the RDG diesel routes
were permanently discontinued along with the electrified Elwyn-West Chester service.
Keeping Regional Rail routes in operation with stations and route segments closed down
is better than losing all service altogether. Hopefully these cuts never have to happen...

SEPTA worked hard to get RRD ridership to gradually increase upward from its low point
in 1984 over time - in recent years ridership has been strong and solid - to be almost all
lost with the pandemic earlier on this year. The drop in ridership has to be shocking to
anyone interested in a good public transportation system in the Philadelphia area.

There should be co-operation politically in PA to avert this crisis - the problem is anti-
Philadelphia or anti-public transportation politicians at the State level - at least that was
the problem during earlier years when SEPTA was heavily dependent on State funds
and not having a funding source such as sales tax revenue dedicated to transit.

Anyone who remembers the "bad old days" of 1980 to 1984 never wants to see anything
like this happen again...I will again say "Never Go Back"...MACTRAXX
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
MelroseMatt wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:25 am Also, I'm calling out the claim that the Broad St. Subway in South Philly will be "special events only.". Running trains for eagles games still means the tracks and signals and infrastructure still needs to be maintained.
Not much different that the Court Street spur at NYCT (used for Transit Museum excursions, film shoots and car moves) or the Aldwych Branch in London (film shoots). Even NJT's Meadowlands Spur and LIRR's Belmont Branch are events only.
  by Literalman
 
Eliminating unstaffed stops can't save money unless the ridership there is dismally low, not worth the electricity of stopping and accelerating again. I think that some of the threat is melodrama, not that Septa wouldn't do it.
  by rcthompson04
 
Some of this looks like melodrama, but some of it looks like the reality if the Silverliner IVs aren’t replaced on the Regional Rail side. I look at the Paoli-Thorndale Line as a great example of a service optimized for using push-pull equipment primarily. You hit the stops with big lots and those that have had substantial improvements recently. Also the distance between stops are better suited for the push-pull sets.

While I think ridership recovers somewhat in a few years, I really doubt it ever comes back to the recent peak. I used to go into the office 4 days a week. I could see that being 2 days a week post-pandemic.

I think the counties are going to have to start seriously chipping in for SEPTA
  by ExCon90
 
Literalman wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:14 pm Eliminating unstaffed stops can't save money unless the ridership there is dismally low, not worth the electricity of stopping and accelerating again. I think that some of the threat is melodrama, not that Septa wouldn't do it.
BSS stations are not unstaffed. Eliminating all stops south of Walnut-Locust would certainly save some money (enough to offset the lost fares?), but I think the BSS ridership consists of a lot of people who can't work from home and will need transportation. More likely the whole thing is the proverbial 2x4 to "get the attention" of various powers that be.
  by Literalman
 
I meant the regional rail stations that are unstaffed. It would be hard to save money on operations by not stopping. Less station maintenance if the stations are abandoned, but lost revenue too.
  by ExCon90
 
In addition to the reasons stated above, a major obstacle to closing almost any of the unstaffed stations has been the near impossibility of providing additional parking spaces at the stations that are left. Passengers with no trains at their accustomed local station and no parking at the remaining ones will leave the system, taking their revenue with them. SEPTA has long been criticized for having too many stations too close together and has been unable to do much about it for just that reason.