Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SEPTA has experienced devastating financial losses and may be forced to eliminate many of its services over the next decade, writes Patricia Madej for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
These eliminations include Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, and Cynwyd Regional Rail lines. SEPTA will also be limiting service on the Norristown High Speed line and turning trolley routes into bus lines.
In an effort to help support public transit, The PA Turnpike Commission is required to give $450 million to PennDot every year, according to Act 89 passed in 2013. Of that $450 million, SEPTA gets $178 million.
Because of the pandemic, people travel less which has significantly decreased revenue from the turnpike. SEPTA lost 92% of their bus, subway and trolley riders and 98% of their Regional Rail riders. As a result, SEPTA is now losing about $1 million a day.
“Once you stop the system, it’s not just something you can turn back on like a light switch,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “People can see that they don’t need to be in a Center City business environment five days a week to get their work done anymore. We’re not really sure what that looks like for our full ridership, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to come back to pre-COVID levels anytime soon for sure, and maybe never.”
Read more about SEPTA and the struggles they may face even after the pandemic here.
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