Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers your questions on policing, elevators
Every three weeks, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey will address public transit questions submitted by Metro Philadelphia readers. Anything from frequency of trains to funding to cleanliness and more is fair game. Ask Casey whatever you like by emailing City Editor Christina Paciolla at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will then forward along your queries.
I’d like to know why there aren’t more SEPTA police riding and going through all of the cars on the Market-Frankford Line during rush hour, and how four or five officers tend to gather at one station. Is this a policing tactic? Misael Seda
Joe Casey: The Transit Police are deployed to areas based on a variety of factors. Due to the number of people on the trains during rush hours, it is easier to see what is occurring by standing on platforms and observing the train as it enters the station. Also, surveillance cameras installed throughout the subway system can be monitored remotely from our control center and transit police headquarters, allowing for officers to be deployed immediately upon the detection of any disturbance. If you see suspicious behavior or criminal activity while you are on the system, IMMEDIATELY call 215-580-8111.
I live out in Western Montgomery County and just absolutely despise commuting on 422 and the Schuylkill Expressway into Center City every weekday. I keep hearing about the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro project and how it would make my life a lot easier. Is this project still a possibility and where is SEPTA at in getting it going? Eric Leonard
Joe Casey: The Schuylkill Valley Metro project, which originally involved a restoration of train service as far as Reading on Freight Rail Right of Way owned by Norfolk Southern, officially ended as a planning effort in 2005 when a Governor’s Task Force determined that rail service was prohibitively expensive for the region to undertake. More recently, in 2010, an attempt was made to combine highway improvements and passenger rail restoration in a plan entitled 422 Plus. The premise of the plan was to assess tolls on U.S. 422 and use the revenue stream to help pay for much needed highway improvement and allow for the introduction of limited service rail that would connect to the SEPTA Regional Rail network through Norristown Transportation Center on the Manayunk/Norristown branch line. This plan was not acceptable to many elected officials within the region, as well as a vocal general public, and therefore was not adopted.
Question: Why can’t an elevator be constructed at 40th and Market? There are many elderly who experience difficulty from the arduous stairs. CB Kimmins
Joe Casey: I’m pleased to report that installing elevators at 40th Street Station on the Market-Frankford Line is one of SEPTA’s priority projects under our Catching Up program. The elevator construction project is tentatively scheduled to be awarded in mid-2015.
Send your questions about SEPTA services and other issues about the transit agency to email@example.com. They will be forwarded to Joe Casey, who will answer them in this column. Ask SEPTA is part of our new column series, which also features political columnist Matthew Turner and lifestyle columnist Kathryn Quigley. The columns run each Monday in our Metro Philadelphia print edition and online.