An open letter from SEPTA General Manager, Joe Casey:
Dear SEPTA Riders,
As many of you know, I am retiring from SEPTA on September 30. It has been a privilege to serve as the Authority’s general manager for the past eight years and to be part of the organization for last 34. Thank you for your support during my tenure as GM.
I have always been and will continue to be a SEPTA passenger. As a rider, I am excited about the direction the Authority is headed. For years SEPTA was forced to postpone key projects due to limited funding and having to meet the federally-mandated December 31, 2015 Positive Train Control implementation deadline—this system cost the Authority $328 million.
Related link: Ask SEPTA: Fixing the 15 trolley
When the Pennsylvania legislature passed ACT 89 in 2013, we were able to proceed with much-needed repairs and upgrades to our aging system and vehicles. We have already begun to use the funding for system, service and station improvements. In the coming years, you will see even more changes that will enhance our customers’ experience.
Our Regional Rail lines have seen record ridership growth over the past 15 years. To serve passengers, we have ordered 13 new electric locomotives to replace the existing fleet. Early next year, we are also planning to order new bi-level rail coaches to expand system capacity.
In our transit division, SEPTA will modernize its bus fleet with 500 new hybrid buses along with plans to begin the transformation of the trolley system by putting ADA-accessible articulated trolleys on the rails and major infrastructure enhancements to handle increased ridership.
Related link: ASK SEPTA: Getting on the trolley on time
Center City is a transit gateway for Philadelphia residents and visitors. City Hall and 15th Street Stations, one of our busiest transit hubs, has been long-overlooked because of budget constraints. Thanks to ACT 89, we have the funding to move ahead with station renovations.
When finished, these stations will be a state-of-the-art, ADA-accessible transit centerpiece, with work beginning at 15th Street Station in the fall of 2016. Last year, SEPTA took over maintenance of the city-owned Center City concourses. SEPTA is making the investment to modernize and refurbish the hallways and facilities used by so many commuters as they navigate the city every day.
Looking forward, I am anticipating the roll-out of the SEPTA Key fare payment system. The smartcard will make travel even more convenient for all of passengers by allowing seamless travel across all of SEPTA’s modes.
I leave SEPTA knowing that the Authority has the management and capital program in place that will allow its record growth to continue for many years. Meeting the needs of our customers has been and will continue to be the focus of all of our employees.
See you on the system!
Joseph M. Casey
Joe Casey is leaving, but not Ask SEPTA in Metro. Keep sending your transportation related questions to Metro at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will have SEPTA officials answer them.