SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line Almost Back to Full Service

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

SEPTA is reportedly close to resuming full service on the Market-Frankford line after cracks discovered in the trains’ main support beams led the organization to remove 60 cars last week.  Read more »

SEPTA Opens Up on MFL Cracks

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The bad news: About 60 Market-Frankford Line rapid transit cars will be out of commission for an indefinite period while SEPTA analyzes just what caused the cracks that spread from vent boxes to major load-bearing beams — or would have if a SEPTA maintenance shop worker hadn’t found cracks in two of those beams Friday night.

The good news: SEPTA has 218 cars in its M-4 fleet, which means that once undamaged cars can be uncoupled from damaged ones, it will have the 144 cars it needs to run regular peak-hour service. Detaching and reattaching the cars, however, will take a few days at least, and until then, there will be minor indigestion during the busiest travel times on the line. SEPTA will have enough buses to take care of the pain, though.

Those were the two most important takeaways from this afternoon’s news conference with SEPTA General Manger Jeff Knueppel. Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Winners of 2016

Clockwise: Outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Martina White and actor Sylvester Stallone.

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Olympian Nia Ali, actor Sylvester Stallone and outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Believe it or not, a few people actually succeeded in the otherwise godforsaken 2016. Here’s to all the do-gooders, overachievers, strivers, thrivers, and folks who won so much they got tired of the winning. Read more »

Could the 2016 SEPTA Strike Be the Last One Ever?

SEPTA 15th Street Station closed - locked gate

Two laws offer the possibility of making scenes like this a thing of the past. | Photo: Dan McQuade

Now that Transport Workers Union Local 234 has ratified a new, five-year contract that was pretty much what SEPTA had offered it on the eve of this latest transit strike — and which completely fails to address any of the valid scheduling matters the union raised during the run-up to the strike — it may be time to ask once again: Isn’t there some way we can get SEPTA and the TWU to end this recurring brinksmanship?

The answer to that question might be “yes,” but remember, this is Philadelphia, where old habits don’t die without a fight and contentious labor relations have a long and storied history. The union that has represented the bulk of SEPTA’s workforce since 1944 has a history of militancy, and it’s managed to maintain that reputation by walking more often than not when contract renewal time comes. Read more »

Health Department: Air Quality Worsened During SEPTA Strike

'Station Closed' sign at SEPTA El stop, man smoking in background

The entrance to the Market-Frankford Line and the underground concourse at 12th Street is closed on the first day of the SEPTA strike | Photo by Dan McQuade

If it was a little harder to breathe the first week of November, you weren’t just hyperventilating at the possibility of President Trump.

According to the the Philadelphia Department of Health, air quality was markedly worse during the six-day SEPTA strike. “At its peak, during morning rush hours, levels of fine particles, known as PM2.5, were four times higher during the strike than before,” the Health Department says in a release. Read more »

SEPTA Union Prez Worried Members May Reject Contract That Ended Strike

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Willie Brown, the president of the SEPTA workers union that went on strike earlier this month, is worried his members may not approve the contract that brought the strike to an end, the Inquirer is reporting.

Brown told the paper that a faction of the union, Transport Workers Union Local 234, is opposed to the contract partially because of the schedule of pay raises it includes. The same faction has challenged his union presidency in the past. Read more »

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