Thursday, April 28, 2005


According to reliable sources at 1234 Market (one of the few reliable ones, anyway), the 35 appears to have been spared from elimination. The plan appears to be to re-route the 9 back to Andorra, cut the 35 back to a circulator service, and proceed with changes to the 61 and 61 Express (which would be rebranded the 62). A public hearing is scheduled to take place within the next month or two on the revised changes, which came about after discussions between SEPTA and city officials.


There was nothing of particular interest coming out of today's "rubber-stamp" session of the SEPTA Board, except for the following:

1. The meeting actually started at 15:00, which is a major accomplishment considering that "rubber-stamp" sessions are notorious for starting anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes late.
2. State Sen. Stuart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) was absent; Montgomery County board member Michael O'Donoghue and House GOP appointee Frank McCartney participated via phone.
3. For the first time in recent memory, Fearless Leader actually had something to report, as three SEPTA employees - two Broad Street Line managers and a Southern bus operator - were honored for apprehending a fleeing suspect and rescuing two children from a burning car that crashed into a Philadelphia Police cruiser.
4. The meeting ended at 15:06, a typical "let's get in and out as quickly as we can" session.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


There appears to be a diversion in progress on the subway-surface line. Shortly before 16:00, an Elmwood supervisor made a request for buses to be dispatched to 36-Lancaster for unknown problems in the tunnel. At least three buses have been dispatched to that location; it appears that the problems are at this point limited to the 10. There is a disabled fire truck blocking the rails along Lancaster near 36 St. To make matters worse, there's report of equipment blocking the diversion route, hence the bus-bridge.

5038 has been the only bus dispatched thus far; the control center is trying to scrounge up two more buses to cover a bus-bridge. A second bus appears to be en route to the staging area at Lancaster from 69 St Terminal.

16:14 - buses are now operating the entire length of the 10 route from 63-Malvern to 36-Lancaster. Cars currently at Malvern Loop are being told to wait at that location for now.

Friday, April 15, 2005


An innovation from SEPTA? It has to be a joke, right?


Thanks in part to the CARD radio system installed two years ago, SEPTA is now adding real-time detour information for all city and suburban bus routes. The information,
which is updated twice daily, comes directly from the Control Center at 1234 Market. It not only includes ongoing detours, but also "pop-up" detours for incidents such as emergency road-work or fire scenes. It's certainly long overdue...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


As a follow-up to the contract negotiations, SEPTA posted this message regarding the TWU's actions (or, in their view, lack thereof). The strange part about this press release was that it was not signed by Fearless Leader, but rather by Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney:

It appears the Transport Workers Union does not want to negotiate a new contract.

For the most part, TWU president, Jeff Brooks has been MIA from the bargaining table. He’s been too busy trying to make his case to everyone but the SEPTA negotiators.

Yesterday, Mr. Brooks complained in the media that, so far, SEPTA has not made any wage offers.

He’s absolutely right. There will not be any wage offer until Mr. Brooks is finally willing to sit down and negotiate health insurance premiums.

The health insurance issue is the elephant sitting at the bargaining table, and Mr. Brooks hasn’t seen it.

Last February, when Governor Rendell announced emergency funding for SEPTA, he addressed the health insurance premium issue by saying, "Today in America, there isn’t anyone who does not contribute to the cost of their health care." The Governor repeated precisely the same statement yesterday.

The SEPTA Board, state and local elected leaders, the regional business community and the editorial boards of the regional media are unanimous on this one issue – the next contract between SEPTA and the Transport Workers Union must include employee contributions to health insurance.

Unfortunately, the TWU seems to feel if they refuse to negotiate the issue, it will be taken off the table. They are dead wrong.

Mr. Brooks told the media yesterday that he’s charging each of his members five-dollars a week to help pay for the negotiations. That adds up to 92-thousand dollars a month – over a million dollars a year.

So, what does Mr. Brooks have to lose by avoiding negotiations, by refusing to sit down at the bargaining table, and by eventually asking for another contract extension? Nothing. What does Mr. Brooks have to gain by another delay – you ask him the question. And then ask SEPTA riders what they have to gain by having the threat of a strike hanging over their heads for months to come.

Time is short – but there is still enough time to do a deal.

This is SEPTA’s message to Mr. Brooks -- we can do a deal today - or we can do a deal a year from today. But, in the end – the deal will include employee contributions to health insurance.

It’s time for Mr. Brooks to look the elephant in the eye.

Recall that not too long ago, Fearless Leader angrily referred to Brooks as "Mr. New Guy" during the early part of negotiations. Speaking of which, where exactly has Fearless Leader been during these negotiations? Is she really content to allow a political hack like Maloney do all the dirty work so she can take the credit (or assign blame) once a new deal is done?

If that doesn't sound like a General Manager who appears detached and uninterested, I don't really know what does...


For the second time in as many months, SEPTA and TWU 234 have agreed to a contract extension. The current CBA, which was originally scheduled to expire on March 15, had been extended to Friday. However, according to KYW 1060, SEPTA management "reluctantly" agreed to the 60 day extension. I have a sick feeling that the union is holding off on a strike until June, just as they did in 1998, when they walked off the job on June 1 for a 40-day strike right at the start of tourist season. For the next two months, at least, SEPTA will still be running.


For the past few days, a hybrid Orion VII from New York City Transit had been operating on various routes out of Southern. Yesterday, NYCT 6365 - which was renumbered 3999 by SEPTA - was operated on the 37 (7357 block) between South Philadelphia and Chester. Apparently, SEPTA was testing out the Orion VII for a possible future bus order, however the next bus order upon arrival of the last 100 New Flyers isn't scheduled until 2008 at the earliest.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Bus schedules on Frontier routes will change on Sunday, while bus and rail schedules on Red Arrow routes will change on Monday. There are some minor timetable changes to many routes, which I'll try to post this weekend, work schedule permitting...

Among the highlights of the changes, peak hour service will be adjusted on the P&W, out-bound AM express service on the 101 and 102 will be eliminated, two reverse-peak PM express trips will be operated on the 104 (finally!), and two trips will be eliminated on the 122. There are few major changes on the Frontier routes...