Saturday, January 25, 2003

  • MORE EL TROUBLES Market-Frankford El riders suffered a double whammy last night due to the after effects of a track fire. At around 6:50pm, Philadelphia firefighters were dispatched to the El tunnel at 19 St to extinguish a rubbish fire near the third rail on the eastbound side. The fire was declared under control at around 7:30pm. However, 30 minutes later, a stalled train forced fire fighters to evacuate nearly 55 passengers from an eastbound train in the same area. Firefighters placed ladders at one of the doors, then safely led passengers across the track area to the 19 St subway-surface station, where passengers were safely evacuated. No injuries were reported as a result of either incident.

  • ANNUAL SERVICE PLAN UPDATE SEPTA is planning a public meeting for the FY 2003 Annual Service Plan on Friday at 10:00am, to be held at the Board Room at SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market, Philadelphia. Among the proposals:
  • Revisions to the City Transit Division Service Standards and Process Document. Changes proposed to the standards would put CTD standards in line with the standards in effect in the Suburban and Regional Rail Divisions (the last major modifications to the CTD Service Standards document was in 1996).
  • A realignment of the 27 off of 676 and Broad St with a new northern terminal. Originally proposed as part of the FY 2001 service plan, the 27 would be routed off of the 676 Expressway and exit I-76 at Spring Garden, then operate via Spring Garden, the Parkway, 17 St, and Locust St to 13 & Locust; prior to 1980, the terminus of the former SEPTA Route A (the predecessor to the 9, 27, and 32) was in the same general area at the 1400 block of Delancy. Buses would layover on the south side of Locust between Juniper and 13 St. Return service would operate via 13 St, Arch, JFK Blvd, 20 St, the Parkway, and Spring Garden to I-76. The re-routed 27 would improve access to Parkway attractions and office complexes in the Market St West district of Center City. The FY 2001 proposal was rejected due to it's poor cost effectiveness; however, with the southern terminus moved from Broad and Washington, this proposal should have a better chance of succeeding.
  • Consolidation of the 63 and 64. As had been discussed and reported at this web site, the 63 and 64 would be consolidated into a single route operating via Washington Av, replacing the poor performing 63 along Christian and Catharine Sts and the 64 along Ellsworth and Federal. The western end of the line would be extended to Parkside Loop. The new route, which would be designated 64, would originate at Pier 70, operating via the existing 63 routing to Delaware and Washington Avs, then operate via Washington to Grays Ferry with a deviation at the Ellsworth-Federal subway station. Service would then be routed to the Grays Ferry Shopping Center and along the existing 64 routing between 29 and Reed Sts to 48 and Wyalusing, with service extended to 49 and Parkside via Girard and Parkside Avs. Service would operate between 6:00am and 1:00am seven days a week, which represents a major upgrade for existing 63 riders between Grays Ferry Shopping Center and Pier 70; however, some people along the current 63 and 64 routes are bound to complain due to the increased walking distance to Washington Av.
  • New 98 service to Fort Washington and Horsham Twp. During peak hours, short turn trips operating to Ambler would be extended to Willow Grove via the Fort Washington Office Center and Welsh Rd in Horsham Twp, with a new stop at the Prudential complex in Horsham. Unproductive trips operating from Frontier Depot would be eliminated in order to offset the increased costs (take a lucky guess where those routes might be; if you guessed Chester County, then give yourself a gold star, as that's usually SEPTA's M.O.).
  • Regional Rail Service Changes. Once again, the City of Philadelphia is requesting later service on selected Regional Rail lines to improve access to the Kimmel Center and other locations along the Avenue of the Arts corridor. One weekday R5 Lansdale train would be extended to Doylestown; the Saturday 10:45pm departure from Center City would be retimed 15 minutes later from Doylestown; a later Saturday and Sunday trip would be added on the R2 Warminster, R2 Marcus Hook, R8 Chestnut Hill East, and R8 Fox Chase lines. In addition, SEPTA is proposing eliminating service at Angora (R3 Elwyn; sometimes referred to as 58 St station) and Lamokin St/Chester (R2 Marcus Hook) due to poor ridership. Despite not meeting ridership standards, R8 Chestnut Hill East trains would continue to stop at North Philadelphia due to extenuating circumstances and track alignment. Ridership at Crestmont (R2 Warminster) and Delaware Valley College (R5 Doylestown) increased to above service standards. One other station, Wissinoming (R7 Trenton) also fell short of the service standards, however, no additional effort was made to increase ridership there.

  • Details on the above proposals will be posted at the web site within the next few days. The meeting on Friday is the first step in the Service Plan process and is not a final proposal. The hearing and tariff process is expected to be finalized within the next two months with a goal to implement the changes by the June picking (the 98 changes, if approved, would most likely take effect during Frontier's October picking, unless TPTB in Norristown say otherwise...).

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