Sunday, June 01, 2003

  • NEW FLYER PROBLEMS There have been a slew of problems with windows on the 5600 series New Flyers operating out of Midvale and Southern Depots, in what is believed to be the first significant problem with the low floors since arriving at SEPTA nearly 2 years ago. According to sources at Midvale, the entire fleet of New Flyers assigned there are being stored for the weekend, and will continue to be that way for the immediate short term. The problems stem from a lack of replacement windows and windshields to replace broken ones. At least 5 New Flyers - 5671, 5675, 5689, 5694, and 5707 - are confirmed to be out of service indefinitely due to damaged windows. This could lead to some lines that are supposed to be wheelchair accessible on weekends seeing some non-accessible 3000s. Southern is reportedly having similar issues with their 5600s, but the problem apparently isn't as widespread as it is at Midvale.

  • PSST ... CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? A report in Thursday's Inquirer should come as no shock to those who've followed SEPTA regularly over the past several years. Jere Downs reports that the SEPTA Board discussed a possible fare increase in addition to those proposed during the executive session prior to last month's meeting. Throughout the article, several SEPTA Board members indicated that they did not want the draconian service cuts to take place (duh!), but at the same time floated the idea of increasing fares even further to avoid the cuts. The board reportedly asked staff to make three new financial outlooks, including fare hikes to avoid any cuts, fare hikes to allow for "minimal cuts" and the possibility of allowing SEPTA to carry a deficit past the end of the fiscal year (June 30) pending funding relief from Harrisburg. This sounds like shades of two years ago, when SEPTA proposed the base fare increase of $1.90 during the public hearings, then turned around and hiked it to $2.00 on the day the budget was adopted. Apparently, streamlining operations was not one of those options, but considering the lack of competence that Chief Operations Officer Patrick Nowakowski displays, not to mention the virtual invisibility of Fearless Leader during the entire process, why wouldn't SEPTA try a back door approach to raising the base fare?

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