SEPTA Wins State Environmental Award

A program that captures power generated by braking trains and feeds it to batteries via the third rail has earned SEPTA the state's highest award for environmental excellence. | Photo: Mturch from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A program that captures power generated by braking trains and feeds it to batteries via the third rail has earned SEPTA the state’s highest award for environmental excellence. | Photo: Mturch from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

An innovative program to save energy and produce revenue by capturing the power generated by rapid transit trains as they brake has earned SEPTA the state’s highest honor for commitment to the environment.

At yesterday’s SEPTA board meeting, the state Department of Environmental Protection bestowed the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence t0 the agency for its wayside energy storage project at the Griscom substation on the Market-Frankford Line. The Griscom storage facility was the second such battery installation on the line; the success of this facility and an earlier one at Letterly substation led SEPTA to expand the program systemwide and add a revenue-producing power management component to it in partnership with Viridity Energy, which sells excess storage capacity to the PJM Interconnection power pool when needed. Read more »

If SEPTA Didn’t Hire You Because of a Criminal Record, These Lawyers Want to Hear From You

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Frank Long says he was right on the cusp of getting a job as a bus driver for SEPTA when two 20-year-old convictions for drug offenses got in his way. And according to his lawyers, that never should have happened.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Long claims that a SEPTA recruiter first offered him a job in person in late 2014, but later rescinded the offer when a background check revealed the convictions from 1994 and 1997. Because those convictions are so old, and seemingly unrelated to the job Long was hoping to get, his lawyers say SEPTA acted in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act. They’re betting it’s not the only time SEPTA has run afoul of those laws, and are asking a judge to approve class-action status for the federal civil suit they’re bringing against the transit agency, as Newsworks and the Inquirer both reported earlier this week. Read more »

So, McDonald’s Is Giving Away SEPTA Tokens Today

McDonald's sign,

McDonald’s sign,

Fast food and your daily commute don’t typically go together (or maybe they do, I don’t really know you). But today, they certainly go hand in hand … sort of.

McDonald’s is putting on its third SEPTA token giveaway of the month today at the BSL Walnut/ Locust Station from 4:30 p.m.  until 6:30 p.m. The first two took place on April 12th and 20th, as Philadelphians lined up to receive their transportation goodie bags.  Read more »

SEPTA Wins Big Grant to Buy 25 Zero-Emission All-Electric Buses

Photo | Proterra

Photo | Proterra

U.S. Senator Robert Casey announced Tuesday that SEPTA will receive a $2.6 million grant to purchase 25 electric buses.

The buses will serve South Philly routes 29 and 79. The two routes had previously operated with trackless trolleys up until 2002, said Richard Burnfield, SEPTA’s Deputy General Manager. At that point the trolleys were over 20 years old and had to be taken out of operation. They then switched over to bus operations.  Read more »

SEPTA: Don’t Take Selfies on Train Tracks

By Jim Pickerell, 1936-, Photographer (NARA record: 4588217) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

SEPTA tracks in Philadelphia’s Northwest suburbs. | Jim Pickerell, (NARA record: 4588217)U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain.

Chances are you’ve seen more than one photo of a young couple strolling aimlessly along a set of old-wooden train tracks. The images are iconic, they’re romanic — and they’re risky. While train track pictures are a photographer’s dream because of the elegant converging lines and scenic backdrop, they’re also a train engineer’s worst nightmare.

As the weather warms up, and the trees begin to bloom, SEPTA is attempting to discourage spring photographers looking to hold such photo shoots from heading to the tracks.  Read more »

SEPTA Starts Big Concourse Renovation Monday

SEPTA - concourse new renderings

Courtesy SEPTA

SEPTA is sprucing up part of the underground concourse. And, starting Monday, two sections near City Hall will be closed for renovations for about a year.

In February 2015, we told you about SEPTA’s big plans for the underground concourse. SEPTA took control of the Center City underground concourse from the city in July of 2014, and wants to make it more welcoming. Parts of the concourse have not really been updated since the 1950s.

SEPTA has already begun structural work on parts of the concourse, including a patch-up job on the South Broad Street concourse last year. And major structural work is in progress at several locations now, including replacement of the escalators off 15th Street. But the work on the concourses that connect South Broad with the 15th Street/Centre Square and Market Street concourses is the first major work of a multi-year plan that SEPTA hopes will re-invigorate the concourses. The stretches that connect to the north end of the South Broad concourse will be closed until April of next year. Read more »

SEPTA Gives a Firm Date for the Soft Launch of Its Key Program


SEPTA made the latest announcement regarding the long — and we do mean long — anticipated SEPTA Key program today, revealing the date that its limited rollout of magnetic key cards will begin. Starting on June 13th, 10,000 passengers (who they’ll call “early adopters”) will be able to get a SEPTA Key card and buy either a weekly or monthly pass at a number of stations, as well as at SEPTA headquarters at 1234 Market St. These passes can be used on buses, certain trolleys (routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, 36, 101 & 102), trackless trolleys, the Market Frankford Line, the Broad Street Line and the Norristown High Speed Line.

Here are the places key cards can be purchased: Read more »

Woman Killed by SEPTA Train Was Penn Student

By I, Mtruch, ">CC BY-SA 3.0,

40th Street Station on the Market Frankford Line. Photo | Mtruch via CC BY-SA 3.0,

Around 7 a.m. this morning, a woman was pronounced dead at the 40th street SEPTA station after being struck by an oncoming train on the Market-Frankford line. In an email to Wharton undergraduates from Vice Dean Lori Rosenkopf, the victim has been identified as 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Ao “Olivia” Kong, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Read more »

Woman Struck and Killed by SEPTA Train Near 40th Street Station This Morning

By I, Mtruch, ">CC BY-SA 3.0,

40th Street Station on the Market Frankford Line. Photo | Mtruch via CC BY-SA 3.0,

Update: The woman killed in this morning’s SEPTA incident has been identified as a junior at Penn’s Wharton school and a graduate of Central High.

Earlier: A woman has died after being hit by an eastbound SEPTA train on the Market-Frankford line near the 40th Street Station around 7 a.m. Monday morning. Rail service had been suspended between those stations, but has since been restored. Riders on the Market Frankford Line can expect residual delays.

The train’s last stop had been 46th street, and as it approached the 40th Street Station, the train operator saw a female of unknown age on the tracks, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said. The operator blew the horn and applied the emergency braking system in accordance with standard operating procedure. The train was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the woman, and she was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Busch. Read more »

Hate Roosevelt Boulevard? Here’s Your Chance to Change It for the Better

A three-year project aims to make the street everyone loves to hate a little more lovable. | Map:

A three-year project aims to make the street everyone loves to hate a little more lovable. | Map:

Are you one of the many Roosevelt Boulevard users who are ready to “route for change” for the Northeast’s most reviled thoroughfare? (I no longer live there, but I’m still in that camp. In fact, I’ve already made my preferences known here.)

The city wants to hear from you. So do PennDOT and SEPTA.

All three agencies are partners in a three-year, $5 million study aimed at transforming the 14-mile-long, 12-lane-wide not-really-a-freeway-but-the-motorists-treat-it-like-one into a city street that works for everyone, including bicyclists, transit users, pedestrians and the people and businesses located along it. The study officially kicks off with a series of public forums from April 14th to 21st where Northeast residents, visitors and other Boulevard users are encouraged to share their stories — horror or otherwise — about using the street. Read more »

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