Monday, March 03, 2003

  • HERE WE GO AGAIN... Either Richard Maloney is in a state of denial, or the SEPTA Spin Patrol is in high gear. As a follow-up to Friday's Inquirer article, SEPTA's Chief Spokeman/Apologist/Liar fired off a rebuttal which appears in today's Inquirer. Well, seeing as I have nothing better to do today, I figure on doing some rebutting of my own. To wit (King Richard the Liar's comments are in italics):

    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...

  • ON THE MOVE, AGAIN With Southern's full complement from the 5600 series New Flyers due to arrive within the next 2-3 weeks, prepare for some major bus moves throughout the system, as has been reported earlier at this site. Already, some NABIs from Southern are starting to show up on Red Arrow routes (such as 5365 running the 104/4218 block last night) and some 3300 Neos are showing up at Frontier (such as 3327 and 3328 on consecutive days on the 124/125). When the dust is settled, though, most of the 3000s will be off the property, leaving the 3132-3251 series as the last non wheelchair accessible buses in the entire system.

  • DEFECIT FOLLOW-UP According to SEPTA Treasurer Joe Casey, the authority is in fact running a surplus as of the end of January. However, SEPTA is anticipating a decrease in subsidies of nearly $41 million, mainly due to the financial problems at the state and federal government levels. This clarifies the statements made the spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Transit Police posted nearly two weeks ago. SEPTA is in better shape financially than other systems (yet, at what cost, you're probably thinking of asking Fearless Leader), however next year may be a different story...
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