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September 10, 2004

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Here's the problem w/ SEPTA:

We don't have an extensive subway system like we ought to. Cities like NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, LA, SF (Bay Area), Atlanta, and maybe within ten years Baltimore have extensive subway and commuter systems that reach all areas, unlike Philadelphia, which just operates a half-ass service. If we had commuter rails that go to Allentow, Bethlehem, Easton, Phillipsburg NJ, Reading, Lancaster, New Hope, Newtown, West Chester, and Oxford PA rather than the current system, SEPTA would be making money than raising fares because there is a market that goes to these places and imagine what tourists will use to travel to the outlets of Reading and Lancaster, either 90 minutes of driving or 60 minutes of riding in a commuter train. Another thing which disturbs me is our "subway" system. Excluding the PATCO and the subway-surface, our subway is small and not extensive enough to reach all parts of this city. Imagine if we converted the Chestnut Hill East and West, the Norristown
line between Manayunk and East Falls, the Fox Chase Line into the subway system. We'd be able to better serve the city and set the regular subway fare rather than charge subway riders the commuter train price. Also Extending the BSL to Jenkintown-Wyncote (a railroad hub), the MFL to the Northeast (Bustleton and Somerton), creating a 5th St and Passyunk line to Fox Chase, another line connecting residents of SW Phila, NE Phila, and Bensalem will also work. The Same goes for PATCO. Extending the line to 30th St Station and University City on the Phila side and Woodbury, Deptford, Cherry Hill, and Maple Shade helps South Jersey become more transit-oriented rather than rely on a car just to go to work.

Septa sucks, even its name sucks!!!

What also makes things difficult for SEPTA is that they ignore their own best advice. About 4 years ago (I've been here 8, so within that window, anyway) they got a blue-ribbon commission, including experts who studied the other successful transit systems, to give them advice on ensuring their long-term health. The top two pieces of advice?
1) cut fares
2) expand service (times and routes)
The experience was that making transit more accessible increases ridership way beyond the initial costs. Surely, the more people who consider public transit critical to their lifestyle, the more support for ongoing growth, no? Anyway, what SEPTA did was raise fares and cut service (some bus lines). So much for the long term...

One cannot compare the transportation system of Southeastern PA with any other city simply because of county boundaries. Yes, it is true that SEPTA serves multiple counties, but a majority of its services, subway lines, and trollys operate in the City. What makes things difficult for SEPTA and the city is that Philadephia is a single county. The only large city in the country that is its own county. This gerrymandering (if you will) of county boundaries prevents revenue sharing equally among the counties and allows suburban counties to receive the benefits of SEPTA without paying its share for it. Because Philadelphia serves as a majority of the services for SEPTA, it makes it difficult for a single county city to provide the amount of funding needed for such a large population. SEPTA would be much better off if the State as well as the sourounding counties increased their funding. Especially the suburban counties.

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