Reading Terminal Market Just Got a Much Needed Tech Upgrade

TransitScreen display mounted on the back wall of Reading Terminal Market | Photo courtesy of TransitScreen

Shoppers can now be even more care-free when strolling the aisles of Reading Terminal Market. Thanks to the addition of two LED flat-screens to the market’s back wall, visitors can see live-updated information on the status of their rides home.

The new TransitScreen displays use open source API data to show arrival times and availability information for SEPTA (buses, trains, and trolleys) and PATCO, and even availability for bikes via Indego and cars via Zipcar, and Uber.

“Because the display lists the intersection where the station is and how far of a walk it is from Reading Terminal, someone will know if they have time to get there,” TransitScreen communications manager Rachel Karitis told Philadelphia magazine. And the screens display the routes of select bus, train and trolley lines. Read more »

SEPTA Transit Schedules to Change for Summer

SEPTA’s summer transit schedules will kick off this Sunday and Monday.

The mostly minor adjustments are meant to accommodate seasonal ridership changes.

There will be one major change for some trolley riders, however: buses will replace all Route 15 trolleys through September 17th for a track renewal project. Construction on Girard Avenue will begin at Broad Street and progress west throughout the summer.

During that time, the inner lanes on Girard Avenue will be closed to all traffic in separate, multi-block construction areas. Side streets near construction sites will be closed to through traffic. Detours will be posted.

Below are other changes to transit schedules. More information, including a full list of summer transit schedules, is available on SEPTA’s website.

Regional Rail

A track improvement project starting Monday will prompt adjustments to late-night service for select Regional Rail trains. Some trains leaving after 9 p.m. on the following lines will be affected: Airport, Lansdale/Doylestown, Media/Elwyn, Warminster and West Trenton.

Check SEPTA’s website for details. Construction is expected to last 18 weeks.

Bus Routes

The following lines will see minor changes: Routes 4, 16, 45, 66, 93, 94, 117, 124 and 125. Changes will go into effect on Sunday (with the exception of routes 117 and 125, which switch on Monday).

Subway

Here are summer schedules for the Broad Street Line and the Broad Street Spur, effective Sunday. The Market-Frankford Line will not change.

Norristown High Speed Line

Here is the new schedule for the line, effective Monday.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

SEPTA GM on This Morning’s Commute: We’re Getting There

septa-regional-rail-940x540

Two of the three trainsets SEPTA has borrowed from Amtrak, the Maryland Transit Administration and New Jersey Transit went into service for this morning’s commute, Day One of the new interim weekday schedule. So how did the morning commute go?

According to General Manager Jeff Knueppel, not bad — considering. “We’re still seeing delays and crowding on the railroad, but we’re continuing to make things better,” he said at a news conference on the afternoon of Monday, July 11th.

Knueppel said that the agency was now actually running more car-trips than on its regular weekday schedule. (A car trip is when one railcar completes a run between end points. For example, a six-car train that runs from Lansdale to Center City makes six car trips.) But it’s doing so with longer, less frequent trains of six to eight cars each, so while the total number of car trips has increased, the total number of train trips remains well below normal weekday levels. The new schedule’s figure of 574 train trips is up from 549 last week but still below the normal weekday figure of 788. Read more »

How Will SEPTA Regional Rail Riders Get Where They Want to Go Tuesday?

Fortunately for SEPTA, a cracked equalizer bar jammed in place in a wheel assembly like this one. Fortunately for the riders, quick action on the part of all involved in finding it avoided a possible tragedy but created a commuting headache. Photo| SEPTA

Fortunately for SEPTA, a cracked equalizer bar jammed in place on this wheel assembly, thus preventing a possible tipover and derailment. The decision made to put rider safety first in the wake of the discovery of the crack has created a commuting headache, however. Photo | SEPTA

Early last Friday morning, an alert SEPTA Railroad Division yard inspector noticed something was funny with Car 812, and as a result, the agency quickly moved to prevent a possible catastrophe on Regional Rail. That action, however, has created a huge headache for both SEPTA and the thousands who depend on Regional Rail to get to and from work every day. At a news conference today (July 3rd), SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel explained what led to the decision to pull all 120 Silverliner V Regional Rail cars from service and how the agency plans to deal with the resulting commuter nightmare.  Read more »

I Tried SEPTA Key — and I Think it Works

SEPTA Key card. Photo by Jared Brey.

SEPTA Key card. Photo by Jared Brey.

Eat my dust, Philadelphia. I got SEPTA’s new payment technology.

This morning at 6 o’clock, stations around the city began accepting “early adopters” for the SEPTA Key electronic fare system. They’ll disburse up to 10,000 fare cards today. If you don’t make the early cut, you may have to wait until the full rollout of the system late this year. Read more »

SEPTA: Key Should Fully Launch by Fall 2016

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

SEPTA says its long-awaited (and long-delayed) card fare payment system will finally fully launch by late fall of this y ear. A “limited” launch of SEPTA Key is also planned to take place during the summer.

SEPTA revealed the news at a City Council hearing on Tuesday. Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s general manager, said that gradually rolling out the project is a deliberate move. “The amount of change that this kind of system brings, we’ve chosen to bring it in over time,” he said.”It’s very important to break this system in carefully.” Read more »

SEPTA Proposes Budget Increase, But No Fare Hike, for 2017

Septa regional rail train

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

SEPTA has published its proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2017 (PDF), which begins in June. The $1.39 billion operating budget represents an increase of $40 million, or 3.7 percent, from the fiscal 2016 budget, yet is projected to be balanced, as state law requires, largely through an equal increase in federal, state and local government subsidies, with money from the state making up the lion’s share.

The agency expects a slight rise ($788,000) in revenue from operations, with most of that coming from other revenue, as the fiscal 2017 budget contains no fare increase, representing a continued pause in what has become a practice of regular incremental fare hikes at three-year intervals. (SEPTA plans to resume the practice with the fiscal 2018 budget; the last fare hike took place in July 2013.) One of the newer sources of other revenue is the sale of power from storage batteries installed along the Market-Frankford Line to the PJM Interconnection regional power grid, a program that will expand in the years to come with the installation of additional batteries along both the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines. Read more »

Coming Soon: Two New SEPTA Bus Routes?

Photo by Jeff Fusco

SEPTA wants to hear what you have to say about proposed changes in bus service, including two new routes slated to start service in 2017-18. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

SEPTA’s Annual Service Plan for Fiscal Year 2017 includes two new bus routes that won’t be launched in the coming fiscal year. That’s because the agency wants to get as much public feedback as it can about the proposed services before letting them roll.

Both of them, though, are much anticipated, and one of them responds to longstanding clamor from some Philadelphia neighborhoods for new service to fill a connectivity gap. Here’s the skinny on each of them: Read more »

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