Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties
Joseph M. Casey
While it may be hard for some to imagine this region without the transit system known as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, long-time residents will remember the many companies before SEPTA that once operated the buses, trains, subways, and trolleys. As private ventures, these companies struggled to maintain financial stability and many went bankrupt. But the importance of transit to those who lived and worked in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties was never completely lost and in 1964 the Legislature in Harrisburg took action to create a new entity now known as SEPTA. Our first job was to take the assets of these bankrupt private companies and shape them into a vital public transportation network managed by a single Authority with a single focus on meeting the travel needs of our region.
Half a century later, our system is a blend of legacy and modern stations, infrastructure, and vehicles. We are the largest system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the 6th largest in the nation. SEPTA is proud of its history, but we've learned the lessons from the past. We recognize that in order to be effective and efficient, we must adopt a business approach to the delivery of transit services. This means living within our budget and managing our financial resources, maintaining our assets, growing new ridership markets, and being a responsible regional partner by exploring ways to sustain the environment and supporting economic growth and development around transit hubs.
All this hard work only goes so far without adequate funding resources and the support of stakeholders, which is what made the passage of Act 89, in late 2013, such a watershed moment for transportation in the Commonwealth. For the very first time, public transit will have a predictable, bondable, and inflation-indexed funding solution. For SEPTA, Act 89 provides an opportunity to build on what we've already started by tackling a growing $5 billion backlog of capital investment projects including bridge replacements, substation overhauls, and new vehicle procurements. These projects will have immediate benefits to safety, reliability, and the customer experience.
Fiscal stability enables SEPTA to think critically about a vision for our future. To that end, SEPTA has formulated a Strategic Business Plan Proposal for Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019, focused on 3 central themes:
Innovation: Pursue a business model that is adaptable to ever-evolving technological and societal circumstances and establish organizational practices that develop a culture of continual improvement.
Integration: Better connect the region's mobility alternatives, adopting integrative solutions that are both transformative (modernizing our fare system) and incremental (bike-to-transit and parking expansion plans).
Renewal: Accelerate core infrastructure investment, advance critical infrastructure and vehicle repair and replacement needs.
These are the unifying principle of a plan that will serve as a framework for corporate strategy development over the next five years. The final plan document was adopted by the SEPTA Board on July 24, 2014.
The Strategic Business Plan for Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019 is our commitment to our customers and the region. It is our blueprint for the future. I invite you to look at the plan by clicking here.