Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers your questions on plastic seats, MARC tickets, accordion buses

Credit: Metro file photo
Credit: Metro file photo

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 christina.paciolla@metro.us, who will then forward along your queries.

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.

Q: Would it be possible to run the longer accordion style buses on the #23 Germantown Ave. line instead of the smaller traditional transit buses which aren’t capable of handling the large volume of riders? Hassan Rida, Germantown

Joe Casey: Since there are a limited number of “accordion style” articulated buses in the SEPTA fleet (approximately 10 percent), SEPTA presently assigns them to routes with the heaviest consistent ridership throughout the day. We are currently in the process of replacing all of our 155 articulated buses. We are analyzing bus ridership to determine, contingent on funding, if we need to purchase an additional 25 to 30 units. Ridership figures for several routes, including Route 23, are under review.

Q: During the recession, I commuted to D.C. to work. Our MARC tickets were transferable on two Amtrak trains in the morning and three in the evening. Our monthly and weekly regional rail tickets enabled us to ride the buses with no extra charge. When will SEPTA become more commuter-friendly? Darlene Jennings

Casey: A cross honoring agreement such as the one between MARC and Amtrak is typically entered into when the local transit agency is experiencing capacity issues and has insufficient train cars to handle demand. To ease passenger overcrowding, a local agency may request that Amtrak accept its passengers at select stations where Amtrak also provides service. The local agency compensates Amtrak for this supplemental service. In this region, the only stations served by both Amtrak and SEPTA are Trenton, Wilmington and a few stations on the Thorndale Line. SEPTA provides frequent service to these locations and is not experiencing the capacity constraints previously mentioned. Presently, a cross honor agreement exists between SEPTA and Amtrak to provide transportation, at no additional cost, for Amtrak customers traveling on Regional Rail to/from 30th Street Station, Suburban Station and Market East Station.

Is it possible to change out the El’s nasty fabric-covered seats for easily wiped-down plastic seats like on the BSL? Melissa Barrow, East Passyunk

Casey: The current seats on our Market-Frankford Line cars are inserts are made of a polyester blend. The cars and seats are housecleaned every day and detailed twice a month. If the seats or seat backs are soiled and cannot be brought up to standard, the seat insert is exchanged with a refurbished unit. I’m pleased to report that prototype composite plastic inserts – similar to the Broad Street Line’s orange seats – are expected to be delivered in late November. The prototypes will be tested for “fit, form, color and function.” If testing is satisfactory, over the next few years we will install the new plastic seating in all of the MFL cars until the entire fleet is completed.

Send your questions about SEPTA services and other issues about the transit agency to christina.paciolla@metro.us. They will be forwarded to Joe Casey who will answer them in a special monthly column here.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

International

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.