5/3/23: SEPTA 2024 Budgets Can Set the Stage for a More Equitable System

This update was sent to Transit Forward Philadelphia (TFP) supporters via our newsletter. Want to sign up and receive these updates? Get involved!

The core transit user is no longer a commuter. Therefore, our system must focus on all-purpose riders with just fares, reliable service, and accessibility at its core. Next week, SEPTA's Board will open public comment as it votes on budgets for the year ahead - and we need your help.

Color rendering of a new SEPTA trolley at a station with shade and wheelchair accessibility

With COVID relief money running out, SEPTA's FY2024 budgets lay the groundwork for what transit could look like in a post-pandemic world with new commute patterns and a changing spread of use. In its Operations budget, SEPTA offers no fare increases nor service cuts, but makes incremental improvements to transfers, and fares for Zone 1 regional rail stations for weekly and monthly pass users. In its Capital budget, the pause of the King of Prussia Rail infused over $300million into vital projects including the purchase of new rail cars and station accessibility improvements while providing new funding to support the aims of Bus Revolution.

Ridership across the system remains well below 2019 levels, so encouraging new riders and supporting the core must be a top priority. Yet SEPTA mystifyingly is considering investing $48million in a parking garage expansion in Conshohocken, while riders continually indicate service reliability as the top factor in using transit and SEPTA itself lists a maintenance backlog of $5.1billion

We need you to help stop these poor investments and win a more equitable transit system.


Color image of a SEPTA trolley in the tunnel with three masked riders boarding

The SEPTA Operations budget focuses on core service, and the year ahead looks relatively stable. But while the current budget offers a second free transfer to SEPTA Key users, cash riders remain penalized by needing to pay an entire second fare when transferring, punishing the system's poorest users. This must end.

More happily, SEPTA proposes to add 24 regional rail stations and the Airport line into the fares of weekly and monthly TransPass users. Again though, this rewards the system's wealthiest riders. We demand that SEPTA allow transfers to and from regional rail, and match base fares for buses, metro service, and trolleys in accordance with the vision of Reimagining Regional Rail.

Click here to help win this funding. 
We'll be in touch with how to testify virtually or in-person, and help crafting your testimony.


Color photo of a subway at a station with the doors open, and a masked man standing in the doorway looking out at the platform.

The SEPTA Capital budget directs resources to the infrastructure of the system, and this past year, SEPTA had its highest Capital budget ever. Though FY2024 proposes a slight decline in overall spending, the pause of KOP Rail means increased funding for accessibility improvements at rail stations and through trolley modernization, alongside accelerating the purchase of new cars for the Market-Frankford Line and regional rail

Unfortunately, in the name of "increasing ridership," SEPTA proposes to spend tens of millions on parking structures, which are drawing the skepticism of even those served by them. We're demanding that SEPTA's capital budget double down on funding for accessibility improvements already arriving over 30 years past the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and either charge user fees for parking or eliminate spending entirely, to devote limited funds to actual service improvements.

Click here to help win this funding. 
We'll be in touch with how to testify virtually or in-person, and to offer help in crafting your testimony.


View the full schedule of public hearings below. Depending on which issues are closest to your heart and your availability, we need your advocacy to push these issues to the SEPTA Board of Directors. Even if you aren't able to appear at these times, feel free to let us know and we'll let you know how to provide written feedback.

SEPTA Operating Budget Public Hearings (VIRTUAL OR IN-PERSON)

  • Monday, 5/8, 11AM & 5PM
  • Tuesday, 5/9, 10AM & 4PM


Click here to sign up.
List all your availability, and we'll be in touch to schedule your ONE appearance.

SEPTA Capital Budget Public Hearings (VIRTUAL OR IN-PERSON)

  • Wednesday, 5/10, 10am & 4pm


Click here to sign up.
List all your availability, and we'll be in touch to schedule your ONE appearance.

Let's work together to make SEPTA's investments better!