City Council Candidates Talk Public Transit in ‘Broke in Philly’ Questionnaire

Candidates for City Council and for other public offices had great responses on public transportation in the "Broke in Philly" questionnaire! Our endorsed candidates especially shined!

Most candidates favored family-friendly fares, discounted or free youth rates, expanding university pass programs, optimization of the bus system, and ending the $1 transfer fee.

Several Council candidates we didn’t endorse also had good ideas for transit, showing that the tide is turning on this issue.

Here are their responses to the question: “How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

 

Jamie Gauthier, 3rd District Council Candidate:

“We should start by providing free transit to children under 12expand transpasses to all students, and making transfers between buses, trolleys, and subways free. SEPTA and the city are exploring a bus network redesign that may help with this as well; however, we need to ensure that this redesign doesn’t make it harder for people to get to their jobs or for children to get to school. We must also increase transit funding as part of the city budget.”

Helen Gym, Candidate for City Council At-Large:

“I have used my seat on Council to advocate for income-based fares and the elimination of transfer fees. Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. Making transit accessible, and therefore habitual, for youth encourages lifelong ridership. SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth.

One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.

Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. ... SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth. One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.”

Eryn Santamoor, Candidate for City Council At-Large:

“Philadelphia is blessed with a strong mass transportation infrastructure but we can do more to improve access and performance. I believe we need to focus on improving SEPTA’s levels and scopes of service to increase ridership, and reduce the need for vehicle ownership and driving. This includes improving bus service and exploring Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to better connect our communities to each other, Center City, and neighborhood commercial corridors. In particular, we need to examine and act on transit strategies that better connect areas such as the Northeast and Northwest with the rest of Philadelphia.

SEPTA’s recent decision to extend the Norristown High Speed Line demonstrates the vitality of outlying communities, and connecting them with the city by mass transit improves Philadelphians’ access to valuable jobs.

Mass transit, however, should encourage growth in the city itself, not just make reverse commuting easier. In addition to the small changes that make differences in people’s lives like fair prices or updated bus routes to accommodate changing neighborhoods, we need to think big - be that a Navy Yard Broad Street Line (BSL) connection, more express bus lanes, or shorter headways on the Market Frankford Line (MFL) - to ensure excellent public transportation remains a bedrock part of our economy.

SEPTA should also consider incentivized pricing models using behavioral economics research to enhance ridership, including (but not limited to): free transfers between buses, subways, and trolleys; access for school-aged kids under 12 years of age; and discounted family pricing.”

Justin DiBerardinis, Candidate for City Council At-Large:

“We need to vastly expand access to high speed and affordable mass transit. High speed bus service is the best option for Philadelphia, dedicated bus lanes on major roads so that riders can quickly get to Center City or to the train lines will help grow ridership. To ease access and make it more affordable, eliminating transfers would also increase the use of buses and trains.”

Adrian Rivera Reyes, Candidate for City Council At-Large:

“We need to invest in our sidewalks in a way that recognizes mobility as a human right, ensuring our most vulnerable citizens can easily and safely get around. I support ending transfer fees, providing free rides for children under 12 and free transit passes for college students, and extending the network into underserved areas where SEPTA options are scarce.”

Read responses from the other candidates at: https://election.brokeinphilly.org/

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