03/20 News: Emergency Funds During COVID-19 Crisis

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Emergency Funding During COVID-19 Crisis

SEPTA Updates on COVID-19

You can get up to date notices about SEPTA operations during COVID-19 here.

Emergency Response Funds from Congress During COVID-19

Due to the economic slowdown brought on by the spread of COVID-19, many sectors of our economy are in need of financial support. Social distancing and reduced demand for certain public services is having—and will continue to have—a negative impact on many agency operating budgets, including public transit.

The transit system is an extension of the healthcare system and part of the healthcare response to this crisis. Healthcare workers need the system to get to their jobs. All essential workers need transit to get around. 

Public transit has become a public health issue. Operators, cashiers, and SEPTA crew members are working hard and putting themselves at risk in order to get medical workers, hospital support staff, food workers, and first responders to jobs that are protecting people and keeping communities safe.

Unfortunately, SEPTA is seeing a drop in ridership and is forced to operate on Saturday service starting Sunday, March 22nd which is putting financial constraints on a transit agency that is already in a tight situation surrounding funding and maintaining a state of good repair

We are asking riders and SEPTA to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to provide public transit agencies with direct financial assistance to ensure the continuation of safe and reliable service, including when the public health crisis has subsided but agency budgets are still experiencing strain. Emergency funds to protect public health will help address revenue shortfalls as a result of lost ridership, as well as increased expenses due to more cleaning. In addition, funding for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) along with covering costs for employees who must work overtime or be quarantined are needed at this time. 

As Congress is actively working on a third package of COVID-19 response legislation, Transportation For America and the American Public Transportation Association are asking Members of Congress to include dedicated funding for public transit agencies across the country. 

You know as well as we do: Public transit agencies provide essential services to millions of riders every day. For many people, transit service is the only way to access a doctor, pharmacy, job (including health care jobs), or childcare. This is especially true for people with significant cognitive and physical disabilities that rely on door-to-door paratransit service provided by local transit authorities.

Congress is moving quickly to draft legislation to help impacted communities, and they need to hear about transit

We strongly encourage you to contact your members of Congress today and share the impacts, such as ridership losses and increased costs due to labor and cleaning products, of COVID-19 on public transportation in your communities.

To contact your Members of Congress, please call 202-224-3121 


Take Action Here

Here is additional information on fighting for transit funding during the COVID-19 crisis:

Jarrett Walker | Covid-19: Transit Will Not Survive Without Help!

StreetsBlog | Reduced Commuter Rail Schedules Leave Health Care Workers in the Lurch

Streets Blog | T Data Suggest Service Cuts Will Increase COVID-19 Risks for Low-Income Riders

Riders Alliance & Tri-State Transportation Campaign An urgent task for Washington in the time of coronavirus