Monday, March 31, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 09:56
Sunday, March 30, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 18:59
Saturday, March 29, 2003
"Based on our current assessment of security, we reduced our level, but are still in a heightened state of alert..."
What lovely double-speak, even for Maloney, eh? And now, some more foolish spin that would anger Bill O'Reilly:
"We believe we have the security of the system in hand as best we can."
Really? Of course, it wouldn't happen to have anything to do with the fact that the added police overtime would cost SEPTA $400,000 to $450,000 per week, now would it? Nor, of course, is it because of the ongoing contract dispute between FOP Lodge 109. As stated before, why doesn't SEPTA just send a press release to potential terrorists to let them know that the system really isn't as safe as they want it to be? Just asking...
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 16:36
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 19:22
As for the rest of the system, the last trains departing Center City were also running nearly an hour late in both directions. Trains arriving on schedule on the PRR side were delayed as they were heading to RDG side destinations or back to Roberts Yard. There's no reason why some of the earlier scheduled PRR-side trains couldn't have been annulled and/or passengers directed to Broad Street Owl buses either at Fern Rock or North Broad/North Philadelphia (Broad and Lehigh) to reach Suburban Station, then connect with protect trains at Suburban. (By this time of the night, it's very possible that the last couple of BSS trains could've still been in service at Fern Rock, but I don't have any details on that.)
Here's the real kicker. Nobody from SEPTA bothered to report this mess to the appropriate traffic outlets (though at that late hour, the only station offering traffic reports would be KYW NewsRadio 1060 - yet, people do listen to 1060 late at night). Granted, it's late, and Richard Maloney is probably getting a good night's sleep while trying to think up his next lie to the riding public. But still, there's no reason why someone from the Control Center can't take the initiative to call KYW and alert them to major problems such as this (if anyone who works at the Control Center is paying attention, the number is (215) 724-1060, and is staffed 24/7). It's not going to do good for those who are not in Center City or stranded on the trains, but it would certainly be good for those who may be waiting at the various stations for loved ones to return home from work.
To make things even more interesting, there was no mention of this latest meltdown by any of the TV stations - even during the morning newscasts - or by the Inquirer or Daily News - though both papers were probably well past deadline for today's editions.
And while we're at it, is it any coincidence that there have been an alarming frequency in service disruptions on the Regional Rail over the past several months? Since last September, there have been several major shutdowns throughout the Regional Rail system, not counting the Rail Power project and the President's Day blizzard last month. That's not factoring in the numerous delays and breakdowns on individual lines during that time frame. The problems seemingly have been occuring almost once a month. But, we're still expected to shell out a lot of money to ride a Regional Rail system that is still the laughing stock of the nation (although some reports out of Boston say that the MBTA is starting to run a very close second). Perhaps it's time for Fearless Leader and the rest of the (ahem) brain trust at SEPTA to start showing more of a comittment to the Regional Rail division, though that would be asking too much, now wouldn't it?
- The 12:10am 65 bus from 69 St Terminal to Germantown & Chelten (5216 block) operates to Germantown, returns to 69 St, then deadheads back to Allegheny Depot;
- The 12:25am 65 to Germantown (5215 block) deadheads back to Allegheny, however it displays a block sign "5396", which tends to tell me that it either changes over to the 60 after the trip for Owl service, or operates as a 60 before doing a round trip on the 65 (I'm inclined to guess the former);
- The 65 round trip departing from 69 St at 12:51am (9628 block) does a round trip to Germantown and back before deadheading to Callowhill;
- The Owl bus that operates on the 65 now operates out of Allegheny (5201 block). This run deadheads from Allegheny Depot to 69 St Terminal then enters into service on the 65 to Germantown;
- The 12:31am G bus from Overbrook (7686 block), operates to the Food Center in South Philadelphia, then pulls 4 68 Express trips between UPS and Broad-Oregon;
- The 1:26am G bus from Overbrook to the Food Center (7651 block) apparently deadheads from Southern Depot to Overbrook to enter service; while the 2:03 am from Overbrook (7687 block) arrives in revenue service from South Philadelphia, which is the last scheduled departure from Overbrook.
Somehow, I would imagine that if some of these wasteful deadhead moves were adjusted to operate into revenue service closer to their respective depots, SEPTA might be able to reduce any operating deficts without massive systemwide cuts.
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 18:43
Monday, March 24, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 21:41
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 22:29
Friday, March 21, 2003
- Tuesday, April 22: St Paul CME Church, 1009 W 3 St, Chester
- Wednesday, April 23: Tindley United Methodist Church, 750-762 S Broad St, Philadelphia
- Thursday, April 24: Turner Middle School, 59 St & Baltimore Av, Philadelphia
- Friday, April 25: SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market
All hearings will take place at 6:30pm, except for the April 25 hearing at 1234 Market, which begins at 10:30am. More details on the plan will be posted shortly. On a side note, has anyone ever noticed that the meeting room at the recently renovated Chester Transportation Center has rarely been used? It's interesting that there haven't been too many reports of community meetings - either by SEPTA or other governmental or community groups - at the CTC since it was renovated, yet that was one of the features that SEPTA had heavily promoted.
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 16:18
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 16:16
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
- Service which had operated more or less hourly Monday through Saturday along three lines within Chambersburg and one line within Waynesboro has been reduced to a single loop operating every 3 hours Monday through Friday only;
- In October 2002, CTA was forced to suspend operations for a day due to the non-payment of it's vehicle insurance;
- The CTA is facing a $47,000 tax lien from the Internal Revenue Service due to unpaid payroll taxes for 2002, even after encountering a similar situation in 2001;
- The CTA reportedly only has enough money remaining to meet this week's payroll - $10,000; and
- The Chambersburg Borough Council is expected to determine whether or not to continue funding the service; all signs indicate that Borough funding will no longer be available to CTA.
For all the cricitism of SEPTA - most of it justified - what's happening in Chambersburg is horrendous. It's amazing that PennDOT hasn't been aware of what was happening, to say the very least.
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 20:49
- Monday, May 5: Doylestown Courthouse, Main & Court Sts
- Wednesday, May 7: Delaware County Council Meeting Room, 1st Floor, Media Courthouse
- Thursday, May 8: Montgomery County Human Services Bldg, 1430 DeKalb Pike, Norristown
- Friday, May 9: West Chester Borough Hall, 401 W Gay St
- Monday, May 12: SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market, Philadelphia
The hearings in the suburban counties will begin at 1:30pm; for the Philadelphia hearings, the morning session will take place at 11:00am, and the evening session will take place at 5:00pm (speakers must register no later than 5:30pm). The actual budget proposal will not be released until the first week of April. Let the rampant speculation begin...
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 19:19
"We've had some testing and some training, but a decision has not been made on deployment ... It's under review. We're still studying them."
Oh. It takes two years to train over 200 police officers on how to use a defibrilator? But wait, there's more. In another classic gem, Maloney also had this to say:
"Where are you going to deploy them? ... How many do you have to maintain? Do you put them in all police cars? In major Center City stations?"
Well, how about (1) deploying them in all SEPTA Police vehicles and at major police zone offices; (2) training railroad employees and surface supervisors on these devices; and (3) stop delaying already and use them.
Of course, I'm sure the SEPTA Police union is having a good laugh over this final quote from the article:
The cost of buying and maintaining the units, as well as the potential legal liability from their use or misuse, is also being weighed, said Maloney.
Gee, that's why they have this neat little concept called "training". Of course, this being SEPTA, that's not exactly a popular concept.
Remember a few months ago when a passenger on board an MBTA commuter train suffered a heart attack and died? Is it going to take a similar event on the railroad or on the El for SEPTA to take some action?
Here's a little unsolicited advice to Emperor Street and Police Commissioner Johnson. If these idiots disrupt traffic during the height of rush hour, there's a neat little concept you may want to try: it's called arresting people. If they want to protest, fine. They certainly have the right to do so, but they do not have the right to inconvenience commuters who are trying to get home from work. I believe the proper term is called "Obstructing The Highway."
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 11:02
Sunday, March 16, 2003
Philadelphia's SEPTA is proposing a 25-cent increase, which could make it the most expensive transit ride in the nation at $2.25.
Gee, this is the first I've heard of SEPTA proposing a fare increase. Wouldn't it have made more sense for the newspapers in Philadelphia to have reported this first (disclosure note: I work for the Inquirer at the Downington home delivery warehouse)? Unless that's what SEPTA wanted to have happen...
Then there's this tidbit of bad news from Friday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on the financial problems at the Port Authority of Allegheny County (the transit operator in the Pittsburgh area):
Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which is three times bigger than Port Authority and whose base fare has been $2 for two years now, is facing an estimated $55 million operating budget problem for the 2003-04 fiscal year.
Again, it would've been nice if the folks at home would've heard about this without having to go on a UN mission across the internet to find out. But, again, that's SEPTA's modus operandi. By the time the public figures out what's going on, it's too late to stop it. That's what SEPTA tried to do with the Schuylkill Valley "MetroRail" boondoggle, but failed thanks to the efforts of DVARP and the Federal Transit Administration. How much are you willing to bet that along with the fare increase comes dramatic service cuts? And are Fearless Leader and the rest of the stooges running SEPTA even willing to fight Harrisburg to get increased funding for the system to keep it relatively in tact? Don't bet on it...
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 19:09
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 22:52
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 21:59
Monday, March 10, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 20:45
Sunday, March 09, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 20:40
In an even bigger shock with much drama (yes, that is sarcasm), James C. Schwartzman was re-elected Vice Chairman of the SEPTA Board, also for a fifth term. Schwartzman - a Republican from Radnor who was appointed by the Minority Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate (who is a Democrat) - has served on the SEPTA Board since 1991.
On a humorous side note, the news was also posted at the Miami Herald's web site. To steal a line from Dave Barry (a Haverford College alum and former Daily Local News columnist who now works for the Miami Herald): "I am not making this up." I highly doubt that it appeared in the print edition of the Miami Herald, though...
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 19:37
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 16:10
Monday, March 03, 2003
Ralph Vigoda's article on SEPTA Regional Rail service during the past month of deplorable weather ("Snow-related troubles are simply the tip of the iceberg for SEPTA", Feb. 28) begins with a blatant inaccuracy and degenerates from there.
Really? Would that inaccuracy happen to be the fact that Jim Whitaker was quoted and not you?
After the President's Day blizzard, SEPTA never said service the following day would return to "normal." We repeatedly stated that Tuesday railroad service would run on a Saturday schedule, and to expect delays.
Oh. I guess some of those reports about railroad service that I heard on the news were also inaccurate, huh? And let's not forget passengers west of Malvern on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale line who had to make do with only 2 trains the entire morning on Tuesday. Of course, the fact that most trains were cut back to Malvern wasn't broadcast over the media outlets (it was posted at the SEPTA web site) might have led to more than a few angry phone calls from the west-central and central parts of Chester County.
Vigoda's article and some critics quoted in it do a disservice to the hundreds of SEPTA employees who worked days on end, often in horrific weather conditions, to keep the trains running.
That's not to say the employees were working hard, but it seems that some of them were completely clueless. There were reports that managers at 1234 Market were unable to keep track of which employees were available and which ones weren't, leading to many botched assignments. Then again, your majesty, you tend to do a disservice to the public at large when you make ludicrous statements as you have in the past.
In the 20 years since SEPTA acquired operations of the commuter rail network, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild a system run into the ground by bankrupt private railroads. More needs to be done, but we have come a long way.
You sure have, your majesty. SEPTA is now one of the slowest commuter railroads in the country, and among other systems, is the laughing stock of commuter rail operations (although the MBTA in Boston is slowly creeping up to take away that honor). There hasn't been a person in charge of the Railroad Division exclusively since Mike Burns was promoted to become Jack Leary's AGM (and of course, Mr. Burns is now heading up the San Francisco Municipal Railway, and having some success from reports I've been reading). Of course, in the long haul, maybe we should've kept Burns in Philly and sent Fearless Leader to San Francisco...
Posted by Creighton Rabs at 13:08