ASK SEPTA: The new GM talks train delays and detour signs

ASK SEPTA: The new GM talks train delays and detour signs
Courtesy of SEPTA

Meet SEPTA’s new general manager, Jeff Knueppel, who is now going to be answering your questions in the Ask SEPTA column.

Today you’re seeing a new name and face to ask the General Manager column. I bring over 27 years of SEPTAexperience to my new position and served previously as Deputy General Manager. It is an honor for me to work with the SEPTAteam, over 9,000 strong, to serve our customers as General Manager.

Related link: A fond farwell from SEPTA GM Joe Casey

SEPTA’s emphasis on the customer, started by previous GM Joe Casey, will continue as our team moves forward. By focusing on the fundamentals — customer satisfaction, safety, investment in our infrastructure and vehicles, and business innovation, we will be working to build a stronger SEPTA that will benefit our entire region. These are exciting times for Septa and I look forward to connecting with you and receiving your feedback through this column.

Question 1: Train #4756 from Jefferson Station at 5:13 to CHE has been consistently late (20 minutes or more) for the months of July and August. What’s causing the delay?

Jeff Knueppel:I’ve been riding the Lansdale Line since around 1996 and as a regular rider I know how frustrating unreliable service can be.

SEPTA monitors the on-time performance of all of trains, buses, trolleys and subways to make sure they meet our standards. Recently, performance on our Regional Rail lines has been below acceptable benchmarks. We are are working hard to understand all of the causes for this trend and how they interact with each other. One such issue identified is how we cross-route trains, particularly those going to and from the Airport.

Related link: Ask SEPTA: Fixing the El tracks

We have specifically looked into the recent on-time performance of Train 4756 and have concluded that it is often affected by issues on the Airport Line where your Chestnut Hill East train trip actually begins. We are currently in the process of reviewing the service patterns of our lower performing trains and we will be making schedule adjustments in November to improve their on time performance. We apologize for the inconvenience these late trains cause. We know that our customers depend upon the reliability and efficiency of our service. We are working to fix this issue and we appreciate your patience.

Question 2:I don’t know how many infuriating times I have stood on some corner with detour signs that don’t match what the computer on the bus says. Last Friday it cost me $30.00 to get home by cab because my stop had a misleading route information sign that said ‘Go to Arch Street.’

JK:At times, detours can be changed faster than the signs along the detoured route can be posted or removed. Passenger are, therefore, encouraged to consult the system status section of the SEPTA websitefor the most up to date information regarding detours.

On the day in question, Arch Street was being paved and SEPTA was required to reroute buses traveling along the street. To minimize any inconvenience to our customers, it is always our intention to create a detour that affects the least number of passengers, reduces confusion and travel restrictions. Removing and replacing the existing signs along the detour in a timely fashion is paramount. We will continue to stress to our route mangers the importance of providing accurate information in order to avoid the situation you described.