Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers your questions on communications systems, infrastructure, paint jobs

Ask SEPTA

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.

Question: Seeing as the Kawasaki trolleys in the city are retrofitted with interior destination announcements and exterior announcements, and it looks like the Suburban trolleys have been too….are the announcements ever going to be activated on the Suburban trolleys? Also, will the Route 15 trolleys ever have interior destination and exterior announcements? Lastly, will the NHSL cars ever have interior & exterior announcements? -Lorenzo, Cheyney University

Joe Casey: SEPTA continues to enhance passenger information systems on our various fleets. All of the trolleys serving Southwest Philadelphia Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 have been upgraded with the capability to make automatic destination announcement both interior and exterior and an upgrade is currently in process for the Routes 101/102 suburban trolleys. With the influx of funding recently approved by the state of Pennsylvania, SEPTA will be able to eventually replace its entire trolley fleet. The new trolleys, including the ones used on the Route 15, will have state of the art communication systems installed. We are also evaluating our NHSL fleet and upgrades to the cars’ communications systems may be included in future overhaul programs.

Question: The new capital improvement plan includes the purchase of new trolleys/streetcars for the routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, 36, and 101/102, along with infrastructure improvements. There is no mention of trolleys or infrastructure improvements for the Routes 23 and 56. They were supposed to have returned in 1997. So, 17 years later, now that the funding outlook is more clear, how come they were not added to the capital improvement plan? Erie & Torresdale Avenues are still mostly track, along with Germantown Avenue and 11th and 12th Streets. I would hope these routes return and that the promise of a return was not an empty one. If not, all of the track should be ripped up to spare people’s tires and suspensions on their cars. -Terrill, North Philadelphia

Casey: The Authority has a backlog of $5 billion worth of critical repair needs.The Authority’s ‘Catching Up’ Capital Plan provides for the acquisition of new accessible light rail vehicles (trolleys) for the Subway-Surface routes and Route 15 Girard Avenue trolley and Media/Sharon Hill trolleys to replace the existing trolleys which were acquired over 30 years ago and the historical PCC trolleys. In addition, infrastructure improvements will be made to aging facilities. Restoration of trolleys on the route 23 and 56 is not part of the capital improvement plan. The Authority must continue to focus on those improvements which are required to bring existing assets to a state-of-good repair. It’s a matter of priorities and we simply cannot address all the system’s current needs, including system conversions and expansions.

Question: Every once in a blue moon, transit companies update their paint jobs so their vehicles can have a different appearance to the public. The NABI buses arrived in 1996 with the current scheme (minus the cool black stripe that should have stayed). It’s been 18 years. Is there gonna be any new schemes for SEPTA buses, trolleys and the NHSL anytime soon? Raymond T.L. Phillips, West Oak Lane

Casey: The appearance of our vehicles – the colors, striping, use of the SEPTA logo are all part of our corporate branding program. This identifying branding also appear in stations, transportation centers, our website and other critical customer information resources. Making our multi-modal transit services recognizable for regular riders and new customers is important to sustain our ridership building efforts. With some 2800 vehicles, 280 stations, and almost 30,000 transit stops, changing the SEPTA brand would be an extensive and expensive undertaking. We prefer to allocate our resources to upgrade the vehicle fleet and modernize stations and facilities for our customers. Consequently, there are no plans to change the SEPTA’s current color scheme for our vehicles.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."