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What has Transit Forward Philadelphia been up to in the past year? A lot!
2023 offered a year of change. After joining in late 2022, Connor Descheemaker (me!) became the sole full-time staffer of the coalition in the Spring. The time since has been filled with budget hearings, rallies, sharing information, and pushing elected officials, bureaucrats, and SEPTA to make transit the accessible, reliable, and sustainable public service we deserve.
In 2023 Transit Forward Philadelphia:
- Spread the word and advocated on SEPTA's first-ever bus network redesign, known as Bus Revolution
- Won Philadelphia's first low-income fare program
- Stood alongside POWER Interfaith and A Smart Collaboration in demanding a fossil-free future for SEPTA in Nicetown-Tioga
- Won new money for Trolley Modernization and transit accessibility
- Won camera-assisted bus lane/bus stop enforcement alongside Liberty Resources to increase bus accessibility and reliability
Launched a statewide campaign to fund PA transit
- Brought 10 advocates to Harrisburg in support of local enabling legislation
- Testified at House Transportation Committee to solve the transit funding crises, statewide
- Stopped a single-use parking garage at a dense SEPTA regional rail site
Won a second free transfer for all Key and contactless pay riders
- And hey, notice that? SEPTA implemented contactless pay!
- Pushed adoption of SEPTA Key Advantage, including winning the enrollment of all City of Philadelphia employees in the program
- Won integration of Zone 1 Regional Rail travel with ALL Transpasses - a key step on the way to Reimagining Regional Rail
In 2024 Transit Forward Philadelphia will push to:
- Solve the statewide operations funding crisis
- Get Philly an accessible, sheltered intercity bus terminal
- Ensure clear communication & implementation of Bus Revolution
- Expand camera-assisted bus lane/stop enforcement citywide
In 2024, we will push new Mayor Cherelle Parker and SEPTA to focus first on service improvements. We must solve the operating budget crisis, attract and retain operators, communicate Bus Revolution's changes effectively, and make transit safe and clean. These foundational fixes will set the stage for continuous tweaks and adds to service to make SEPTA reliable and desirable.
Transit Forward Philadelphia is 31 members and counting. In the past year our coalition has been reenergized, and those members have showed up to city council meetings and hearings, Bus Revolution open houses, the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee, at meetings with state legislators, and on the steps of the state capitol in Harrisburg to demand safe, reliable, and accessible public transportation in southeastern Pennsylvania and across the commonwealth.