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SEPTA and public transit agencies across the country are at risk of losing vital transportation service for frontline workers and communities of color who rely on public transit everyday. On September 9th, American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation For America and TransitCenter sent a coalition letter to Congressional Leaders urging them to provide the $32 billion of additional emergency public transit funding in any COVID-19 response legislation.
TransitCenter analyzed the financial impact COVID-19 has had on transit agencies and without emergency funding, doomsday cuts threaten to upend transit riders’ lives. Pennsylvania is no exception to this rule and has been experiencing financial challenges long before the pandemic. In August, SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards went to Harrisburg and threatened to cut Regional Rail lines, and specific trolley and bus routes if PA legislators don’t find a way to resolve its budget crisis as detailed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“A ‘service reduction plan’ over the next 10 years would turn city trolley routes, as well as the Sharon Hill Line, into bus lines; eliminate the Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, and Fox Chase Regional Rail Lines; cut more than 100 stations on the nine remaining Regional Rail lines; suspend service on the Broad-Ridge Spur; reduce frequency on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines; and limit service on the Norristown High Speed Line.”
We need riders and residents like you to contact PA Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and tell them to provide at least $32 billion of additional COVID-19 emergency transit funding
To contact your Members of Congress, call 202 - 224 - 3121 or click the link below to have a letter sent directly to Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey
Talking Points for Legislators
What Will Happen to SEPTA Without Emergency Funding?
This Thursday, October 1st from 6-7pm EST, TransitCenter will be hosting a panel discussion with transit riders and agency leaders about the crisis facing transit in America today, and what interventions are needed to prevent this disastrous scenario. The discussion will feature Transit Forward Philadelphia’s Coalition Organizer, Yasha Zarrinkelk. Other panelists include: Peter Haas, PhD, Chief Research Scientist, Center for Neighborhood Technology; Julie Kirschbaum, Director of Transit, SFMTA; Roger Williams, Member, Riders’ Council – Transit Alliance Miami.
TransitCenter in conjunction with the Center for Neighborhood Technology will also be releasing a report this week detailing the potential impact of 40% service cuts in 9 major regions, including Philadelphia.
This webinar will be closed-captioned and is a webinar on Zoom. For security purposes, only registered Zoom users will be able to join the event. Once you RSVP on Zoom, you will receive an email with a unique URL to join this online event.
Sign 5th Square's Petition to Restore Regional Rail Service
Want to take action about service cuts in Philadelphia?
Coalition members, 5th Square, have been fighting hard to restore service back on SEPTA’s Regional Rail lines and are asking SEPTA to restore on Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd Regional Rail service. As heard in last week’s SEPTA Board Meeting, these lines serve as vital routes for many riders who need to access essential services such as work, doctor visits, and businesses in Center City.
Join 5th Square in asking SEPTA to:
- Restore Service to the Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd Regional Rail lines
- Lower Regional Rail Fare to match transit fare for travel within Philadelphia
- Accept Weekly and Monthly TransPasses on Regional Rail for travel within Philadelphia
SEPTA can quickly increase its capacity to serve working Philadelphians by opening its vast and underutilized Regional Rail network during an unprecedented time.
These changes would give Philadelphia transit riders the room to socially distance while also rebuilding ridership on otherwise nearly-empty Regional Rail trains. These changes would also break down long-held barriers between transit and regional rail -- finally enabling riders to use SEPTA as an integrated network.
Tell SEPTA to Restore Regional Rail Service and Lower Regional Rail Fares!
Unsure or Feel Unsafe About Getting Back on Transit?
Riding transit may be safer than you think. According to a BillyPenn article, ventilation and airflow on SEPTA trains, buses, and trolleys bring in fresh air about every 2 - 4 minutes.
Here’s how often air is exchanged on various vehicles:
- Trolleys: every 2 to 3 minutes
- Norristown High Speed Line trains: every 2 minutes
- 40-foot buses (standard size): every 2 minutes
- 60-foot buses (articulated): every 2½ minutes
- Regional Rail trains: every 2 to 3 minutes
- Coach cars (small part of fleet): every 3 minutes
- Silverliner 4 cars (majority of the fleet, the older trains): every 3 minutes
- Silverliner 5 cars (about one-third of the fleet, newer cars): every 2½ minutes
And in countries like Japan and France which are ahead of the curve when it comes to outbreaks and clusters of COVID-19, Riding Transit Looks Surprisingly Safe.
Here are some tips on How to Safely Travel on Mass Transit During Coronavirus and what SEPTA is doing to ensure rider’s safety: SEPTA Move Better Together Plan.
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