SEPTA Adopts Operational Cost-Cutting Ideas Suggested by Employees, Could Save $117M Annually

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SEPTA train
Image via Gary Todd at Creative Commons.

SEPTA is following through on operational cost-cutting ideas generated by its employees. The measures could end up saving the transit agency $117 million a year, through Norristown Regional Rail and other areas of SEPTA through Montgomery County and beyond, writes Thomas Fitzgerald for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The year-long brainstorming effort was conducted by SEPTA and McKinsey & Co. consultancy.

These cost cuts are of crucial importance to SEPTA at a time when ridership is still lower than expected — at 29 percent of pre-pandemic numbers for Regional Rail for example — and state and federal transit funding levels are uncertain.

“It’s imperative that we get more efficient,” SEPTA board chairman Pat Deon said. “The clock’s running, and it all depends on how well we manage our money.”

More than a thousand employees submitted their suggestions for potential cost cuts.

The adopted ideas include:

  • The installation of software on hybrid buses, which helps maximize fuel efficiency, possibly saving $1.6 million a year
  • Relying on SEPTA employees to build gear boxes themselves. This one mechanical part has tripled in cost, making the locally-crafted version a $193,000 annual savings
  • Auditing health benefits to ensure the beneficiary information is up to date, creating potential savings of up to $4.5 million a year

Read more about operational cost-cutting ideas in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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