SEPTA Suspending Most Service Saturday Due to Probable Blizzard
Want more proof that this is no ordinary storm? SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel announced at a news conference this morning that almost all service will be suspended for at least 24 hours starting at 4 a.m. Saturday.
That means all bus routes, trolleys, Regional Rail Lines and the Norristown High Speed Line will not be operating.
Knueppel explained that the agency made the decision to shut down because of forecasts of high winds and whiteout conditions accompanying the winter storm that is expected to hit the Philadelphia area starting tonight.
The Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines are the only services that will run on their normal weekend schedules as long as conditions permit. If conditions above ground become too dangerous, Knueppel said, service will be restricted to the underground portion of the subway lines.
Knueppel explained that the agency is also concerned that the combination of high winds and heavy, wet snow could bring tree branches crashing down onto Regional Rail and trolley power lines.
“Zero visibility and high winds will make it too dangerous for our customers and our employees to be on the roads and rails,” he said. “It could also be difficult for our crews to rescue stranded passengers and make emergency repairs if needed.”
SEPTA’s Customized Community Transportation paratransit service will operate trips only for dialysis patients on Saturday and Sunday. CCT users should call the the control center at 215-580-7720 to cancel trips if they aren’t planning on riding or inquiring about the status of pending “same-day” trips.
Knueppel noted at the news conference that SEPTA has invested in new, heavy-duty snow-removal equipment to help clear tracks and restore service quickly in the event of a major storm such as this one.
He also advised patrons to follow @SEPTA on Twitter for the latest status updates. “If you haven’t been following us, now’s a good time to start,” he said. SEPTA’s customer service call center will open at 6 a.m. Saturday with extra staff to field calls, and riders can also send questions to @SEPTA_SOCIAL on Twitter.
Restoration of service on Sunday will depend on road and track conditions on individual routes; SEPTA will issue updates on the status of its services as conditions improve. More information about the system shutdown and service resumption will be available at SEPTA’s website as well.
This is the first time SEPTA has suspended services in advance due to weather since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
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