5th Square is providing the following press release in reaction to newly-released SEPTA 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
March 1, 2021
For Immediate Release
SEPTA just released its 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
Daniel Trubman, 5th Square Transit Committee organizer approved the agency’s new visions. “SEPTA establishing itself as a seamless 'One Lifestyle Transit Network' is a welcome and significant change for the agency’s future. 5th Square is fully supportive of the strategies to deliver a seamless transit network, including simplifying transfers, establishing transit-priority lanes, developing a fare structure that prioritizes equity, evaluating pass programs, and providing safe routes to transit.”
In this document, SEPTA says it is adapting to the pandemic and recognizes the importance of appealing beyond the weekday 9-to-5 white-collar commuter. SEPTA’s new aim to provide customers with frequent, all-day and all-week service is essential in improving affordability and reducing driving.
After some promising first steps towards equity and connectivity last year with basic fare restructuring, 5th Square is pleased to see SEPTA continuing its work on evolving its fare policy. We hope it will include some of our recommendations like fare capping, adjusting prices for regional rail, revised fare payment options, and working with partners to create a low-income fare program. This would create a more unified and equitable system for all of its customers.
We are thrilled to see a new-found emphasis on making the system more intuitive and easy-to-use and are encouraged to see elements like prioritizing accessibility, improving wayfinding, launching mobile ticketing, providing real-time displays, and integrating bike share.
We are especially happy to see SEPTA call for the establishment of a Transit-Oriented Development working group to create compact, walkable, mixed use developments near transit. This is absolutely the direction where the agency needs to head in order to prepare itself for the future.
Trubman added, ”We are also happy to see SEPTA’s revamped key performance indicators that align with this new vision. We look forward to seeing how tracking these metrics keeps the agency focused on implementing this new strategic plan.”
We recognize a lot of this vision represents an enormous shift from SEPTA’s traditional capital expenditures, and want to see the agency’s commitment to fulfilling this vision in its financial decision-making. “The release of SEPTA’s proposed FY2022 Operating and Capital budgets this spring will be the first test whether the agency is actually committed to implementing this strategic plan” Trubman noted, “SEPTA needs to stop subsidizing car-owners through ending parking lot expansions, to improve equity by providing accessible regional rail and subway stations, and to factor future high-frequency service in its procurement of rail equipment.”
Transit committee organizer Cameron Adamez added, “In the future, we would like to see a better alignment of goals with the Philadelphia Transit Plan, with its emphasis on bus network redesign, trolley modernization, and frequent regional rail service. It is these three projects that will have the biggest impact on the most riders and fulfill the vision of equity in transportation.”
5th Square is Philly's urbanist political action committee. We formed in 2014 to support candidates for local elected office who are committed to policy change in the areas of transportation, land use, and public space, and to advance a vision for a more accessible, sustainable, equitable Philadelphia for all residents.