Sunday, December 21, 2003


In today's Inquirer, Jere Downs reports on an issue that has become a hot topic at SEPTA Board meetings over the past three months: the abysmal on-time performance of SEPTA's Regional Rail system.

"There is a belief we don't care," said Richard J. Hanratty, SEPTA's Regional Rail chief. "The truth is, we have always cared, but we were reacting to trains on a day-to-day basis. We didn't know how bad it was."

Right. Color me sceptical, but when on-time performance is below 90 percent for nearly 19 months, that tends to tell me that SEPTA is just now getting around to fixing the problem.

There is also a searchable chart to let people know how good or bad a particular train's on-time performance rates.

On a related note, sparks flew at last Thursday's board meeting between BLE rep Tom Dorricott and SEPTA's AGM for Operations Pat Nowakowski. It was probably one of the harshest exchanges observed at SEPTA meetings in a long time. To make a long story short, Dorricott essentially accused Nowakowski of lying about the recent on-time performance of a couple of R3 trains. Despite Dorricott's detailed explaination as to why his particular run was constantly late, Nowakowski insisted that the trains were on-time at Suburban Station, which seems to be the only thing that matters. Remember that Nowakowski spends most of his time in the ivory towers of 1234 Market...

At the same meeting, DVARP President Don Nigro accused SEPTA of misrepresenting its position on the on-time performance of Metro-North, Long Island Railroad, and NJ Transit rail operations. Nigro accused SEPTA of faulty information and went so far as to call an NJT exec in Newark to catch SEPTA in yet another lie. Nigro has attacked SEPTA's poor on-time performance at the past three meetings, and is obviously getting under the collective skin of Fearless Leader and the puppets who pass themselves off as an impartial board.

Speaking of which, Fearless Leader, in no uncertain terms, reiterated her opposition to creating an AGM for the Regional Rail division. Giving no explaination as to why she is opposed to such a position, Fearless Leader essentially said that the consultants had to "convince her" that it would be a good idea. I could try and offer an possible reason: maintaining the status quo.

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