SEPTA Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan Hearings

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will conduct public hearings regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan.

The proposed Annual Service Plan includes changes to the following SEPTA Routes: 12, 23, 25, 26, 40, 53, 55, 64, 73, 84, 98, 105, 106, 119 and 128. County Line Station on the Norristown High Speed Line is proposed for discontinuation. Revisions to the Service Standards and Process document are also proposed.

A Community Benefit Analysis has been performed for all of these projects. Implementation of the recommended projects will proceed pending the outcome of the public hearing process, SEPTA Board approval, and available funding.

Public Hearing Schedule:

DATE: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
TIME: 12:00 Noon and 5:00 PM
SEPTA Board Room – Mezzanine Level
1234 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

DATE: Thursday, May 28, 2015
TIME: 2:00 p.m.
Bensalem Township Municipal Building
2400 Byberry Road
Bensalem, PA 19020

DATE: Thursday, May 28, 2015
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
Lower Merion Township Building
75 East Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003-2323

DATE: Friday, May 29, 2015
TIME: 2:00 p.m.
Paoli Hospital
2 Industrial Blvd
Paoli, PA 19301

DATE: Friday, May 29, 2015
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
Delaware County Court House
Council Meeting Room 1st FL
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063

Northeast Corridor service to be restored Monday morning

At 5:30 p.m. this afternoon, Amtrak announced the restoration of service between Philadelphia and New York. As stated on the Amtrak website, “Effective with departures from Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111), all Amtrak Acela, Northeast Regional and other services resume.”

SEPTA has also announced the resumption of service with some modifications. As stated on the SEPTA website, “Trenton service will resume tomorrow AM (5/18) with no service to North Philadelphia, Bridesburg and Tacony stations. Delays are expected.”

The restoration comes following an announcement late last week that service would not resume until Tuesday. Amtrak and contractor personnel have been working around the clock to repair the damage sustained during the derailment. NJ Transit restored service to 30th Street Station on Friday, May 15th.

Amtrak Derailment in Philadelphia

On Tuesday May 12th, at approximately 9:20 PM local time, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #188 derailed at the curve east of Frankford Junction while enroute to New York City, resulting in the death of 8 and injuring approximately 200 according to news outlets. During a press conference late this afternoon, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson Robert Sumwalt stated that preliminary data extracted from the locomotive event recorder indicates that the train was traveling at approximately 106 Miles per Hour as it approached the curve. The approach speed limit is 80 MPH, and the speed limit through the curve is 50 MPH.

Due to NTSB investigation activity and the damage resulting from the derailment, rail service through the affected area is suspended indefinitely, pending Amtrak repairs. This includes Amtrak, the SEPTA Trenton Line, and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line west of Cherry Hill Station.

This PlanPhilly article: How to go around the Northeast Corridor shutdown after the Frankford Junction derailment provides a comprehensive list of transit alternatives between Trenton and Philadelphia to bypass the affected area.

SEPTA is offering additional trains on the West Trenton Line, which is accessible via special NJ Transit shuttle bus from the Trenton Transportation Center. There is no fare for the special NJ Transit Shuttle but customers must present a valid SEPTA or Amtrak fare to ride.

Atlantic City Rail Line riders can access PATCO at Lindenwold or temporary bus shuttles operating between Cherry Hill and Philadelphia 30th Street Station. NJ Transit is currently cross-honoring Amtrak and SEPTA Regional Rail Division tickets on the Southern Division bus routes and the River Line. Amtrak tickets only are being cross-honored on NJ Transit NEC trains between Trenton and New York City.

PATCO is currently cross-honoring tickets for Amtrak and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line.

DVARP extends sympathy to the injured, and condolences to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

DVARP would also like to thank the many participants assisting in the rescue operation. The efforts and professionalism of the first responders is appreciated.

Public Hearings / NJ Transit Fare & Service Proposal

NJ TRANSIT will hold nine scheduled public hearings and one information session beginning Saturday, May 16, 2015 to allow the public the opportunity to learn more about the proposed fare increases and service changes and offer comments before the plan is considered by the Board of Directors on July 8, 2015.

The proposed service and fare changes would take effect in September 2015 and on October 1, 2015, respectively. The proposed fare adjustment would be an average of 9 percent for the majority of NJ TRANSIT customers.

The dates and times of meeting locations most convenient to residents of southern New Jersey include:

DATE: Monday, May 18, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Atlantic City Rail Terminal – Lobby
One Atlantic City Expressway, Atlantic City, NJ

DATE: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Camden City Hall – Council Chambers (Floor 2)
520 Market Street, Camden, NJ

DATE: Thursday, May 21, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Trenton Transit Center
72 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton, NJ

For more hearing schedule information, go to the NJ TRANSIT Press Release webpage.

For more information on fare and service restructuring, go to the NJ TRANSIT Fare and Service Proposal webpage.

30th Street Station District Plan Meeting

Amtrak, Drexel and their partners in the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan will host an open house this month to introduce the project to the public and solicit community input. The event is an opportunity for interested parties to learn about the project, meet the team, ask questions and provide input. The open house will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 28 on the main concourse at 30th Street Station from 4-7 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, but members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

The public is also invited to learn about the project by logging onto the recently-launched website, PhillyDistrict30. Here visitors can get the latest project information, sign up to receive project updates via e-mail, review news coverage and more.

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is a joint planning effort focused on creating a single integrated vision for the area surrounding 30th Street Station. The goals of the plan center on concepts of community, connectivity and identity.

The effort is led by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and SEPTA with support from a coordinating committee that includes a wide range of public and private agencies, area stakeholders and other interested parties.

(Courtesy: Drexel University)

NEC Future meeting schedule

NEC Future is a program of the Federal Railroad Administration. As stated online, “NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched NEC FUTURE in February 2012 to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands. Through the NEC FUTURE program, the FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC, and provide a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2016 in support of that vision.”

This link – Open House Meetings, November 2014 – provides information about the schedule of upcoming meetings.

Tenetative aggreement reached between SEPTA and TWU 234

Media sources report that contract negotiations between SEPTA and TWU Local 234 have concluded with a tentative agreement reached late in the evening of Friday, October 31st. The pace of progress in the negotiations increased after the intercession of several power brokers occured, including Congressman Bob Brady (D-Philadelphia), who has been involved with past SEPTA-TWU negotiations. A ratification vote by TWU membership is expected to take place during the first full week of November.

As reported, the contract duration is two years, and leaves many of the larger issues (i.e. pension reform) unaddressed. Therefore, Transit Division riders may face the potential of another strike in 2016.

Potential SEPTA Transit Division Strike Looms – Again!

Employees of the SEPTA City Transit Divison, represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234 have been working without a contract since the expiration of multiple labor agreements earlier this year. News sources have indicated that the work stoppage could occur in early November. TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown has previously stated that the onset of a work stoppage will be announced 24 hours in advance. The atmosphere surrounding labor negotiations can be extremely fluid, however, and circumstances can change with limited prior notice.

This Link: Your SEPTA Strike Survival-Guide details transportation alternatives in the event of a work stoppage. As the situation develops, SEPTA customers should visit the SEPTA website for additional information. Riders are advised to remain aware of changing conditions that may occur without notice. The Regional Rail Division will continue to operate, but may be impacted by extra passengers and TWU activities.