Monday, April 28, 2003

  • MESSY DAY IN NICETOWN Several bus routes experienced delays through the Nicetown section of Philadelphia due to a police investigation at Hunting Park and Erie. A juvenile male allegedly stole a school bus owned by All City Transportation from a parking lot at 7 St and Roosevelt Blvd. During the chase, the suspect allegedly struck a woman at the intersection of Broad and Hunting Park. The chase ended at around 11:45am, when the suspect crashed the school bus into a wall at Yelland and Hunting Park. The suspect will be charged with auto theft, aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, fleeing police, and numerous violations of the motor vehicle code. Let's hope this punk is tried as an adult and further hope he has his preliminary hearing in front of Judge Seamus McCaffery.

    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.

  • CITY AVENUE PROBLEMS Ongoing construction of the City Av bridge over the Amtrak Keystone Branch/R5 Paoli Thorndale line is making life miserable for operators on the 65. Buses en route to 69 St Terminal have been running as much as 20 minutes late due to the heavy congestion between 59 St and 63 St (as was the case with 5212 block today, which was supposed to arrive at 69 St Terminal at 3:25pm before departing as the 3:40pm to Germantown; 5212 block reached 69 St at 3:45pm, and departed 5 minutes later). The sooner they complete this reconstruction, the happier commuters will be.

  • NEW RAIL SCHEDULES MAY 5 The new Regional Rail timetables will take effect on Monday, May 5. As expected, shuttle buses will replace train service on the R6 Cynwyd due to the last phase of the RRD Rail Power Project. In addition, some peak hour service has been adjusted on most of the lines, with the R5 Paoli Thorndale losing some limited trains (some Thorndale trains are now express to/from Bryn Mawr instead of Wayne). More details will be posted (hopefully) soon. On the bright side, R3 service has been fully restored between Trevose and West Trenton as of this morning. Service north of Trevose had been suspended for several days due to a CSX derailment.

  • QUESTIONABLE ACCOUNTING? The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that there may be some discrepancies in how part of the Pennsylvania Public Transit Assistance Fund (generally referred to as Act 26 funding) may be collected. According to the Tribune-Democrat, Pennsylvania motorists must pay two separate fees for every tire purchased in the Commonwealth. One fee is supposed to go towards tire disposal and enviromental cleanup, however that can vary from between $2.00 to $4.00 depending on what part of the state you purchase tires. The second fee - a $1.00 fee in addition to the enviromental fee - is collected as part of Act 26 funding, which also includes motor vehicle leasing taxes and rental fees among other sources - is consolidated into a single payment to the PTAF from the Commonwealth's Treasury. SEPTA recieves 70 percent of statewide Act 26 funding, with the majority of the remainder (approximately 20-25 percent) allocated to the Port Authority of Allegheny County, leaving the smaller systems to split the remainder of the Act 26 funding. Based on the article, it appears possible that some tire fees may or may not be properly collected. Officials at PennDOT, the Commonwealth Treasurer's office, and the Department of Enviromental Protection (which supposedly recieves the $2.00-4.00 fee for enviromental cleanup) were unable to explain how exactly the revenues from the tire fees were accounted for. It does make one wonder if the Act 26 related tire fees may be underreported by the Department of Revenue or by PennDOT.
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