Thursday, March 27, 2003

  • SPREE IS OVER The SEPTA Board officially abandoned the Route 76/Center City Shopping Spree at it's monthly meeting today. The Spree will officially end on Friday, April 4. Somehow, I doubt that there will be as much fanfare for the end of the Spree as there was for the launch of the service in November 2001.

  • MORE FLYERS ON THE WAY For those of you who don't like New Flyers (and I would suspect those in that group are few and far between - I am not one of those people), we have ... more New Flyers. The SEPTA Board approved a contract with New Flyer to build 300 new buses over the next three years with three separate annual options for 20 new buses per year. Should all three options be exercised, then the total number of new buses over this period will be 360. As much as I'd love to see all three options exercised, it's very possible that - assuming SEPTA does a one-for-one replacement - at least one of the options won't be exercised, most likely the 2004 option. The reasoning is that SEPTA is still tentatively expected to recieve an additional 10 diesel-hybrid low floors from New Flyer over the course of this year, plus the expected arrival of the new overhauled PCC cars for the 15/Girard light rail restoration, could result in the rest of the non-accessible Neos being retired by the middle of next year, allowing full accessible service on all SEPTA bus routes. The wild card in all of this is the status of the trackless trolley fleet, particularly out of Southern Depot. If the 29 extension to Pier 70 is made permanent, there will be some pressure within SEPTA to convert the 79 to diesel bus service full time and extend that line to Pier 70 as well. As a result, all trackless service from Southern would be converted to bus operations, with the fleet being returned to Frankford, where there appears to be at least some committment to trackless service on the 59, 66, and 75 once the Frankford Terminal complex is complete. Let's just say the next three years will be very interesting from a fleet perspective as New Flyers will take over for Neoplan as the dominant bus within the SEPTA system.
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