Digging Into SEPTA’s Problems

Philadelphia’s transit agency faces some structural challenges as it struggles to reorganize its services and bring back ridership.

Read Time: 1 minute

January 22, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

SEPTA bus stopped in front of Independence Hall, Phialdelphia, Pennsylvania

DuskyJay / SEPTA Bus

At a hearing on Monday, Philadelphia’s city council will discuss the proposed changes to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) bus routes, which manages public transit in the city and beyond. Matt Sullivan reports on the story for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to Sullivan, “Much of what is possible is going to depend on developing and funding bold plans to increase SEPTA’s ridership, and that means pressing for improvements systemwide.” Beyond bus route adjustments, “it’s crucial that agency management reexamine its professional standards for outside contractors, become a better partner with its own workforce, and firm up its shaky commitment to transit equity.” Sullivan describes the agency’s troubled partnership with its Key Card contractor, as well as its history of labor disputes. “Just as the agency should be pressed to do better by riders, it should be pressed to do better by its workforce,” Sullivan writes.

Additionally, “SEPTA management must commit itself fully to transit equity, ensuring all communities have access to great public transport that gets them where they need to go.” Sullivan suggests starting with an end to transfer fees, which impact low-income riders the most. “It’s no mystery which transit riders live in West Philly, North Philly, and along Kensington Avenue, and the Pew study makes it clear that the fare structure amounts to de facto discrimination.”

Friday, January 20, 2023 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Protesters with signs in Atlanta after Tyre Nichols murder

Memphis: Crime-fighting Camera Sheds Light on Police Abuse

The irony is unmistakable. Public surveillance cameras, long controversial in the criminal justice community, provided pivotal video footage of the beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on January 7.

13 minutes ago - The New York Times

Photo of cars on two-way separated highway with illustrated lines between them indicating tech-driven decisions

How Autonomous Cars Could Impact Energy Use

The complex algorithms used by self-driving vehicle technology use massive amounts of energy, which could lead to a steep rise in carbon emissions as autonomous cars become more commonplace.

1 hour ago - Dezeen

Overhead view of crosswalk with pedestrian median

Safe Streets Grants Announced

The federal Safe Streets and Roads for All program funds planning and implementation for road safety projects aimed at reducing traffic deaths and building safe infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

2 hours ago - U.S. Department Of Transportation