You know.. this service reduction plan is stupid. Like I said, they should be mothballing whole regional rail lines and ending service on unproductive routes! What logic is there in cutting ALL Evening and Weekend service which is a 20% across the board cut. SEPTA's Board and Management must be made up of "girlie" men and women:


Posted on Fri, Sep. 10, 2004

SEPTA issues an $O$
Without state aid, cuts and fare hikes likely, agency says

Drowning in a $62 million sea of red ink, SEPTA said yesterday that if the state doesn't cough up the cash soon, the city faces a winter transit nightmare of slashed services, soaring fares and ghost town weekends with shuttered stations and barren bus stops.

"The authority can't wait any longer" for deficit-busting dedicated state funding, said SEPTA general manager Faye Moore, announcing the Freddy Kreuger cuts that she predicted would "effectively dismantle public transportation in Southeastern Pennsylvania" by:

Cutting service 20 percent across the board, eliminating a whopping 225,000 daily passenger trips.

Suspending all weekend city, regional and Paratransit service, turning Philly into a train-and-bus graveyard.

Pumping up the basic cash fare from $2 to $2.50, the basic token from $1.30 to $1.70, the monthly TransPass from $70 to $85, and all transit fares an average 25 percent.

Boosting all regional rail fares from 21 to 46 percent.

Suggesting that skeptical media types tend to regard SEPTA's deficits-of-mass-destruction doomsday declarations as crying wolf, board chairman Pasquale "Pat" Deon warned, "It's not a bluff. It's not a ploy."

But later in the day, Mayor Street said that the city opposes SEPTA's plan for drastic cuts.

He complained that the city uses SEPTA much more and pays a much larger share of the transit authority's local government subsidy than suburban counties do, yet is hit the hardest when SEPTA raises fares or cuts services.

In fiscal year 2004, Philadelphia contributed $53.5 million, which is 80 percent, of the region's $67 million SEPTA subsidy.

"We don't think it's fair for SEPTA to now gouge our riders," Street said. "These are the people who are helping to pay the freight for SEPTA."

Street recalled that Gov. Rendell initiated an external audit of SEPTA's books last year when the agency was threatening fare hikes and service cuts.

Rendell's office said yesterday that the audit, started in May, 2003, is still not completed.

While Street agreed that SEPTA needs a dedicated source of funding, he said he would urge Rendell to consider a "complete overhaul" of how the agency handles its finances and how it is governed.

The city has only two representatives on SEPTA's 15-member board of directors, which is dominated by appointees from the surrounding counties.

"We don't have much of a say in SEPTA anymore," Street said. "It's basically run by suburbanites. I don't think we get a fair share on return in our investment in SEPTA."

Richard Burnfield, SEPTA senior budget director, said that the transit giant had "sharpened the budget pencil as much as we can," but did not document that claim.

Unless the state dedicates enough sales tax money to fix the problem instead of throwing bandaids at it, Burnfield said, "we will be back here year after year after year with budget shortfalls."

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf and State Rep. John Taylor said their SEPTA-saving dedicated funding bills had failed to capture the attention of the governor and the state legislature at the last session because the focus in Harrisburg was on tax reform and legalized gambling.

Greenleaf said that a top executive of a Philadelphia corporation that employs 8,000 middle-income data processors told him that if the city hadn't had a handy SEPTA stop in the neighborhood, he would have built the facility in Delaware instead.

Taylor, whose district includes the city's SEPTA-centric Frankford section, said, "From the day people are born in my area, they see the El," and that his constituents depend on it for everything from getting to work to taking their children to the doctor.

The proposed cuts, Taylor said, would have "a devastating effect on our region."


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