Ask SEPTA: Joe Casey answers your questions on train announcements, North Philly station, destination signs
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.
Ask SEPTA is part of our 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 1: On the Broad Street Line, at the North Philadelphia station, the train announces, “Next stop, North Philadelphia, for route 54, SEPTA North Broad Station, and regional rail lines.” Why is it that the BSL doesn’t announce half of the wheelchair accessible stations (like N. Phila)?
Joe Casey: Thank you for your comments regarding the automated announcements on the Broad Street Line. SEPTA is currently evaluating and updating all the automated messages to assure all accessible stations are announced.
Question 2: Could SEPTA acquire the N. Philadelphia regional rail station? Most people that I’ve spoken to don’t even know it exists, because it is not announced on the train. SEPTA uses the station more than Amtrak does, and they do not take care of it at all. Maybe a rehab program ala-Wayne Junction or Melrose Park?
Joe Casey: The North Philadelphia Station is owned and maintained by Amtrak. This station is part of the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and New York. For those SEPTA Trenton and Chestnut Hill West regional rail trains which stop at the North Philadelphia Station, announcements are made by the conductors or by automated stop announcements of the new Silverliner V rail cars. With more than 150 regional rail stations in our five county service region, SEPTA has outlined plans to renovate some stations as part of the Authority’s “Catching Up” Capital Plan. However, at this time funds are not available to address all stations, including the North Philadelphia Station.
Question 3. Why do so many bus drivers who are on duty ride around with the bus destination sign that says “SEPTA” or has the wrong direction up (the 6, for example). Can you do something about this?
Joe Casey: All SEPTA buses are required to display their proper routing while in service. When buses are traveling out of service, the destination should display, “OFF DUTY.” When “SEPTA” only is displayed it is typically a system malfunction. Our supervisory group aggressively monitors all buses to ensure the proper sign is displayed. If the system is not functioning as intended, the supervisor reports the issue to our maintenance group. We will continue to be more vigilant in our observations especially as they adversely affect the customer experience.