Thursday, September 09, 2004


You just knew that SEPTA's game of chicken with Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-Pa./Comcast SportsNet) and the General Assembly would come to a severe head with more scare tactics eminating from Fearless Leader and the Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market.

But this is ridiculous...

Today, Fearless Leader and Don Pasquale unveiled the most draconian plan that anyone who has lived in this area and dealt with SEPTA can ever recall. At a press conference, the "Duo of Doom" said that if Harrisburg doesn't follow through with dedicated funding by the end of the current legislative session, these severe actions would be taken:
  • All weekend/holiday service on all modes would be "suspended"
  • 20 percent of all weekday City and Suburban Transit service would be reduced "across the board", with increased headways, reduced hours of operation, and certain trips on certain lines eliminated to impact the "fewest passengers" (yeah, right)
  • 20 percent of all Regional Rail service would be eliminated mainly focusing on service after 8:00pm and mid-day reductions, with certain peak-hour trains combined, resulting in a loss of express service (that's not going to sit too well, particularly on the R5)
  • Elimination of nearly 1,400 jobs (both management and unionized)
  • A loss of nearly 225,000 daily passenger trips (22 percent)
  • Fare increases ranging anywhere from 25 to 50 percent
    Base fare increase from $2.00 to $2.50
  • Weekly and monthy passes would cost approximately 25 percent more
And now, some excerpts from the SEPTA press release with quotes from the "Duo of Doom":
This is the worst crisis to face SEPTA in its 36-year history. Don Pasquale

Really? I thought that the whole Silverliner V fiasco was even worse, but what do I know?

The SEPTA Board has forestalled this catastrophic action as long as possible. Public hearings were conducted throughout the region last May for the specific purpose of alerting the public to our funding crisis, and we have been gratified with the support we have received. Don Pasquale

Don't count on getting any more support this time around; after all, the same tactics, but on a less horrifying scale, were tried last year, impressing very few officials in Harrisburg and even fewer people in Philadelphia.
Senator Stewart Greenleaf and State Representative John Taylor have introduced legislation to provide funding, not only for SEPTA, but also for the 70 other transit agencies in similar straits throughout Pennsylvania. This is our last chance to get it passed. Don Pasquale

The impact of these measures on the lives of our customers, businesses in the region, as well as my fellow SEPTA employees, would be devastating. This is our last chance to avoid disaster. Fearless Leader

And how many chances has the public given the often incompetent people running our system? Well, at least the "Duo of Doom" are on the same page when it comes to last chances...
These contingency measures are contrary to every aspect of the mission of this transit authority. Fearless Leader

This is as opposed to what SEPTA's mission really is: Charging high fares for service that, over the past few years, has deteriorated to the point that most riders would rather buy a car than deal with SEPTA.
We should be expanding the system - not dismantling it. There is nothing fair in this agonizing process. It is unfair to everyone who relies on public transportation, especially the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, students and others for whom public transportation is their sole means of mobility around this large metropolitan region. Fearless Leader

When has there ever been anything fair coming out of 1234 Market?

Public hearings will be scheduled on the following dates (note that specific locations and times have yet to be announced):
  • Delaware County: October 14
  • Bucks County: October 15
  • Chester County: October 18
  • Philadelphia: October 19
  • Montgomery County: October 20
If this is approved (and god help us if it is) all of these changes would take effect on January 1, 2005. Perhaps Fearless Leader should resign, and the SEPTA Board should name someone more appropriate to run the system. How about Stephen Baldwin, host of Sci-Fi Network's Scare Tactics?

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