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 email@example.com, who will then forward along your queries.
Question #1: When are the repairs to start on the Media/Elwyn bridges? These problems have been known for years yet Septa only brings them out when they need a bargaining chip. We would like to see the money spent on what it was intended for.
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Casey: You are correct. The problems have been known for years and Septa did not have the resources to invest in this infrastructure. Now that Act 89 was passed and we had the funding in place, SEPTA’s engineering and construction staff immediately got to work on “Rebuilding for the Future.” And at the top of our “To Do” list was the rehabilitation of the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line’s four steel viaducts built in the 1890’s. We are moving forward to address critical infrastructure needs and have already gone through the bidding process to begin replacing the bridge timbers. that support the rails on the viaducts over Cobbs and Darby Creeks starting in September. Select structural repairs will also be made. To complete this work, the line will be shut down on 10 consecutive weekends starting Sept. 20 and 21. Service for the line will be provided by shuttle buses. Notices for this service substitution have been posted.
This is the initial phases of the bridge work along the Media/Elwyn Line. But there is much more work to be done. The rehabilitation of the viaduct over the Ridley Creek along with foundation strengthening and painting of the Cobbs and Darby Creek Viaducts is scheduled to start in the spring of 2015. The replacement of the thousand foot long viaduct over the Crum Creek will begin by the summer of 2015 and the Crum Creek Viaduct will be taken out of service and replaced in the summer of 2016. SEPTA will also be strengthening and rehabilitating the stone arch bridge near Wallingford Station. Construction on this bridge, will start early next spring. SEPTA has also started working on other key infrastructure initiatives along this line. So as you can see, the much needed ACT 89 funding is indeed being used to repair and rebuild the Media/Elwyn Line and upgrade the entire SEPTA system.
Question #2: Why is it that Septa transit cops are allowed to park their private vehicles at FTC on Frankford Avenue in a "no parking no stopping" zone? If I did that, I am sure i would be ticketed or towed. This happens on a daily basis. Ed K
Casey: Unless responding to an emergency, all SEPTA Transit Police personnel have been instructed not to park in the No Stopping zones. Internal Affairs will conduct periodic checks to ensure compliance with this order.
Question #3: Could SEPTA consider providing additional and more specific Airport Train signage on the train platform at the 30th St. Station OR perhaps determine if it is advisable to pull the train forward to the western part of the platform? Virginia Maroun
Casey: We understand your concern about riders having to run for a train when the train stops further down the platform than where they were standing. As you pointed out there are no "A" and "B" sections at 30th Street station. Most Airport trains have 4 cars that generally stop in the same vicinity short of the end of the platform on Track 6. Our Operations staff has developed general information signage to direct riders to the center of the platform. We still encourage riders to listen for announcements in the event of a change in boarding location. Thank you for your interest in the operation of our rail service.
Question #4: With the advent of new fare technology on the horizon, does SEPTA have a plan to redeem their ridership's purchased tokens for a cash refund or for the value placed on their new smart fare cards? Tony Parone
Casey: With the transition to the SEPTA smart card, tokens will not be immediately obsolete. Customers will continue to be able to insert tokens into the Fare Kiosks located at the Subway/Elevated rail stations and obtain a quick trip media ticket. In addition, tokens will continue to be accepted on buses and trolleys during the initial roll-out of the smart card. SEPTA will provide our customers with advanced notice regarding when tokens will no longer be sold or used to pay their fare.