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Rail News: Passenger Rail

SEPTA plans public hearings on fare increase, operating budget


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) April 5 announced plans to hold public hearings from May 7 to May 16 regarding its fiscal-year 2002 operating budget and fare restructuring proposal.

Currently, SEPTA faces a $32 million operating budget deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2001. The proposed fare restructuring is part of a compensation attempt.

"We have worked diligently to reduce or maintain costs throughout the authority," said SEPTA General Manager John Leary Jr. in a prepared statement. "We have balanced our operating budget for three of the past four years and maintained fares at current levels for the past six years."

SEPTA also has purchased new vehicles, added routes, rebuilt stations and upgraded infrastructure.

"However, we must now strengthen our revenue flow in order to meet rising costs of power sources such as diesel fuel and electricity, health care, and paratransit and shared-ride services, while state and local subsidies will be lower than expected," said Leary. "The vast majority of our riders will continue to pay deeply discounted fares."

Fares would increase an average 11.4 percent: Tickets purchased with cash would rise from $1.60 to $1.90; tokens, $1.15 to $1.30; transfers, 40 cents to 60 cents; weekly TransPasses, $17.25 to $18.75, and monthly TransPasses, $64 to $70.

Regional Rail Division ticket and TrailPass prices would increase 12.7 percent. Tickets for Paratransit-Shared-ride services would rise from $2.85 to $3.50, with group sales increasing from $2.40 to $3.20. Passage for Paratransit-ADA services would bump from $2.50 to $3.50, or from two tokens to two tokens plus 50 cents.

In addition, SEPTA would decrease the number of suburban fare zones, resulting in reduced costs for passengers traveling longer distances, and allow daypasses to serve as acceptable fare for travel throughout all transit divisions. TransPasses would be accepted as full fare to and from any station on the R6 Cynwyd, R7 Chestnut Hill East and R8 Chestnut Hill West, and Fox Chase regional rail lines, all located within Philadelphia. And SEPTA would accept Zone 2 TrailPasses as fare on ADA-Paratransit trips.

Copies of the operating budget and fare proposal are available at SEPTA stations; a summary is available on the authority’s Web site.