Wednesday, April 30, 2003
"I'm almost appalled that you asked the question. Absolutely not."
Come to think of it, I'm almost appalled that this moron still has a job with SEPTA, since he has the credibility of Michael Moore (the biggest lying fraud to disgrace the movie industry), but that's another story.
In addition to the R8, the other three rail lines on the chopping block (the R1 Airport, R2 Warminster, and R6 Cynwyd) and several bus routes - the C, 19, 31, 37, and 123 - are also targeted as part of the survey. Gee, why doesn't SEPTA focus it's survey on some of the other lines which are in danger of being cut, such as the 35, 77, 92, 128, and 133? Come to think of it, how did the 37 end up on the endangered list? Did I miss something here?
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Monday, April 28, 2003
As far as how this impacted SEPTA service: The accident investigation forced police to close off Hunting Park between Erie and 21 Sts. As a result, the 1, H, R, and XH were forced to detour off of Erie onto 23 St and Venango before returning to their normal routings. Service was also delayed on the 33 and 56, as buses were stopped for several minutes at a time; many buses pulling in and out from Midvale en route to Olney and points along Broad Street were also delayed, as they were also caught in the Hunting Park quagmire.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
The first incident occured at around 1:15am, as a CSX freight train derailed near Neshaminy Falls. Reports indicate that vandals placed used tires on the CSX (non-electrified) track, causing at least 6 of the over 100 freight cars to derail into the SEPTA track area. The derailment knocked catenary down, forcing SEPTA to suspend service on the West Trenton line for most of today. Service as far north as Trevose is expected to be restored in time for tomorrow's commute, however there will be no shuttle service between West Trenton and Trevose. Instead, SEPTA is telling commuters to take the R7 Trenton line, which had it's own share of problems this afternoon (more detail shortly).
The second incident occured during the morning rush hour, as downed wires between Fern Rock and Jenkintown forced passengers on the R2 Warminster and R5 Lansdale-Doylestown line onto shuttle buses at Jenkintown to connect with the Broad Street Subway at Fern Rock. Service was restored at around 4:00pm this afternoon, however residual delays were still expected. In addition to the stranded trains north of Fern Rock, service on the R1 Airport and R5 Paoli-Thorndale lines were also impacted, as trains could not be cross-routed via the Center City tunnel. There were reports that R1 Airport Line service was also suspended for most of the day due to stranded trains on the Reading Trunk, however, that has not been confirmed.
Okay, let me see if I understand this. SEPTA has enough buses to take passengers from Jenkintown to Fern Rock, but can't even provide basic shuttle service along the even busier West Trenton line? And isn't the Warminster line supposed to be shut down if Fearless Leader has her way? And is it any coincidence that this latest RRD meltdown occured the day before the monthly SEPTA Board Meeting - just as the last RRD meltdown did last month?
Meanwhile, the R7 Trenton Line, which was already experiencing heavier loads due to the non-service on the R3 West Trenton line, had it's own problems during the evening rush hour. Philadelphia and Amtrak police report that an New York bound Amtrak train (#186) struck and killed a tresspasser near Bridesburg at around 3:15pm. All R7 service was suspended during the police investigation, with the exception of two peak hour trains to Trenton.
All in all, it was not a good day to be a Regional Rail commuter in Bucks County.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
"I want SEPTA to make the same type of cuts that I made in the state government ... I've got management and productivity experts - not in the government, but outsiders - who are willing to come in for free and take a look at their operations and see if we can save money."
Apparently, Rendell's comments have scared off Fearless Leader, as SEPTA sent Minister of Dis-Information and Lies Richard Maloney out to respond:
"We welcome the governor, the budget secretary, or the legislature to take a look at our books in any way ... Since the mid-1990s, when government support for transit has been flat, we didn't sit on our hands and wait."
Okay, Richie, now that you've put your foot in your mouth (again), I think I'll take you up on that offer. I'll let my people get in touch with your people and we can work something out. (Okay, that was a little scarcastic, but you get the picture.) It would, however, be nice if SEPTA released a more detailed line item-by-line item budget so the public can understand where their fare and tax dollars are going.
"Under no circumstances shall a street musician be arrested or told to leave a location merely because that individual is playing a musical instrument or singing."
Gee, you'd think SEPTA would've learned that lesson the first time...
In any case, today's Inquirer reports that Evans has issued a memo to all officers laying out the rules when dealing with street musicians and other annyoing people who loiter around SEPTA stations:
"(U)nless there is probable cause to show that the musician is in violation of another ordinance or statute, police shall not arrest or remove from the property individuals who are playing musical instruments or singing."
Great. All some lowlife homeless person has to do after inciting trouble at Suburban Station would be to claim to a SEPTA cop that he was practicing music and they leave him alone.
Monday, April 14, 2003
Friday, April 11, 2003
Thursday, April 10, 2003
"Eliminating four of our regional rail lines and cutting or merging dozens of bus routes suggests more of a political ploy to influence
our state government in Harrisburg, than sound budget practice," Rizzo writes.
Rendell has many friends in the Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy neighborhoods. Rizzo's chief of staff Stewart Graham said he thought cutting the R8 was aimed at those friends.
"SEPTA has talked about discontinuing the R7 [Chestnut Hill East line] for years," he said. "Now they want to cut the R8. You have to wonder about what strategy was there."
Rizzo also suggested some reductions in service rather than wholesale cuts. "At least this would allow communities to continue to be served," Rizzo writes.
Well said, councilman. It's a damn shame that he doesn't run against Emperor Street this fall (though if Sam Katz were elected, it would still mark a major upgrade at Broad & Market).
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
The press is already starting to take notice, with some outlets citing elected officials who question SEPTA's tactics when dealing with Harrisburg. That was the tone of Philadelphia City Councilman Michael Nutter's comments to Jere Downs in today's Inquirer article. State Rep. Richard Giest (R-Blair), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee told Chris Brennan in today's Daily News that SEPTA was "rattling the sabre."
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Part of the problem with SEPTA is the lack of funding coming from Harrisburg. Unlike most states - particularly in the western part of the country - SEPTA - and most transit systems in Pennsylvania - does not have a permanently dedicated source of funding that allocates "X" amount of dollars per year. Funding from Harrisburg has been frozen at near-1996 levels since the passage of Act 3, which was supposed to give SEPTA and other state-funded systems a dedicated funding source. That funding source (which will be detailed in future posts) has actually decreased over the past two years due to the slowing economy and de-regulation of the electricty industry (part of the funding came from utility taxes).
The bad news is the legislature rapidly passed Gov. Rendell's budget without going through the traditional budget process, as has been reported on several media outlets across the state. Making things worse is this response from Eric Bugaile, director of the Pennsylvania House Transportation Commitee, as told the Inquirer's Jere Downs in today's editions:
"SEPTA will be crying 'poor me,' but those cuts are here to stay."
Nice. For further unintentional comedy, you may also want to note that SEPTA Board Chairman/Chief Micro-Managing Officer Radio Impresario/Turnpike Commissioner/Land Developer Extraordinaire/Former Convention Center Board Member and all around weasel Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. called the budget situation "a nightmare for us." Well, gee, Mr. Deon, it was your GOP buddies in Harrisburg who decided to slam the budget down our throats without any meaningful debate.
The hearing dates were posted last month, and will be reposted within the next day or so. Stay tuned, as things are going to get very ugly, very quickly.