The SEPTA Board May 22 approved proposals that will allow the Authority to embark on its “Catching Up” capital improvement program, while also enhancing service for customers with initiatives such as a pilot program this summer for 24-hour weekend subway service.
These are among the highlights of SEPTA’s Fiscal Year 2015 Operating and Capital Budgets and Annual Service Plan, all of which were approved by the SEPTA Board at its regular monthly meeting. Fiscal Year 2015 is the 12-month period from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.
The Board’s votes follow a series of public hearings last month regarding the plans, during which riders and local residents submitted questions and comments. Public input, as well as reports from an independent hearing examiner who oversaw the hearings, were considered prior to today’s votes.
The following are summaries of the budgets and the service plan, which are available in full on SEPTA’s Website:
• Fiscal Year 2015 Capital Budget & Fiscal Years 2015-2026 Capital Program: SEPTA's capital budget funds initiatives such as infrastructure improvements and the purchase of new bus and rail vehicles.The $571.8 million FY 2015 budget represents a significant increase over recent years, thanks to the approval by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Gov. Corbett last November of Act 89, which provides a dedicated, long-term funding solution for transportation infrastructure investments in Pennsylvania. Act 89 will allow SEPTA to launch its “Catching Up” program, which includes work on critical infrastructure such as power substations, bridges, track, maintenance facilities and passenger stations.
SEPTA will also begin the process for replacing Regional Rail and trolley cars that are well past their useful service lives, expanding capacity to address ridership growth and improving accessibility. Funding will also continue to be provided for ongoing projects, including work on the New Payment Technology initiative – or “smart card” fare system – and the federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) signal system, as well as expanding SEPTA’s hybrid bus fleet and overhauling existing vehicles.
• Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget & Five Year Financial Plan: The FY 2015 Operating Budget totals $1.33 billion, an increase of approximately 3 percent over FY 2014. It provides funds for the everyday costs of running the transit system, such as labor, fuel and power. The budget maintains current service levels and will not result in a fare increase for riders. It includes a pilot program this summer for 24-hour weekend service on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines.
• Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan: Service metrics will be updated to allow for better evaluation of on-time performance. In addition, changes aimed at enhancing customer service will be implemented on bus routes 35, 43, 91, 201, 205 and 206. The route 116 bus will be replaced with improvements to routes 68 and 108.