My comments on SEPTA’s operating budget on April 24, 2017

In reviewing the budget, I’ve learned that we, Philadelphians, are SEPTA’s largest rider base. Over 80%, according to page 6. 

Thousands of us have asked that SEPTA not invest in additional fossil fuel infrastructure, notably the gas power plant in Nicetown. Our requests and various logical arguments have fallen on deaf ears. We seek better representation on the board, one that we can nominate. 

Not only are we, Philadelphians, your largest rider base, we’re your 2nd largest revenue source, second only to the state. We pay $475 million in fares, compared to the $725 million from the state. 

We’re asking for a say in our transit system. For a way to prepare for more people leaving the car at home and using zero emissions  transit to get around the City. SEPTA needs to lead us into the clean energy future, not cripple us with long term investments in fossil fuels; examples are gas power plants and diesel buses.

Looking at service reliability on page 12, I’ve learned that the Norristown high speed line was 100% on time, the BSL was 99%, the MFL 98%, the regional rail lines all together were 84%, and buses ranged from 76 to 81% on time. 76 percent? 

City transit is over 80% of ridership, and consists of mostly black and mostly female riders. It appears SEPTA considers on time service less important for mostly black and female customers. Please work at getting the bus service closer to 100% on time. These are people balancing work, childcare and eldercare; the ones who can least afford to be late. 

On page 189, I see that SEPTA employs 20 people costing $6.4 million for government and community relations. We’ve met some of these fine people. But it’s not clear why they’re not working for us, the community. We’re your customers, not the oil and gas industry.