SEPTA GM Presents Free Ride Card to Oldest Senior Rider

January 20, 2012

Supports Age Friendly Philadelphia Initiative

By Kristin Geiger
Press Officer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Margaret "Peg" Bringhurst and her daughter Barbara Osaid rely on SEPTA regional rail service to take them to one of their favorite places, Reading Terminal Market.

At 101-years old, Mrs. Bringhurst is believed to be SEPTA's oldest rider.

Thanks to SEPTA's Seniors Ride Free* Program, Mrs. Bringhurst can ride the bus for free and take regional rail for $1. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey and Assistant General Manager of Public & Government Affairs, Francis Kelly recently visited her at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center in Lafayette Hill, Pa. and presented Mrs. Bringhurst with her free ride card.

"As far as we know, Margaret is SEPTA's oldest rider. We have over 80,000 senior riders that use the system on a daily basis," SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said. "In addition to presenting Mrs. Bringhurst with her card, we gave her a SEPTA sweatshirt so she can keep warm while riding the system."

Kerri Zwolok, executive director for Sunrise Senior Living in Lafayette Hill smiled as she described Margaret. "Peg is one of our most active seniors. She's an avid bingo player, participates in Mass, travels to restaurants and attends every trip our facility offers."

Mr. Casey added, "Transit offers independence to our seniors. They can visit friends, go shopping and travel to doctors appointments using SEPTA services."

"Everywhere I go, I'm the oldest person," Mrs. Bringhurst said. "I guess people my age don't ride the train anymore.

I've ridden the train since I was nineteen." When asked how she felt about all the attention and the special visit from SEPTA, Mrs. Bringhurst said, "I never expected anything like this in my whole life. I feel like I could faint."

Margaret Bringhurst was born in 1910 on a farm in West Chester, Pa. She first started using the train in 1929 when she traveled from her home in West Chester to Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia to attend nursing school. Margaret also recalls relying on the train to travel to Atlantic City with her girlfriends. After completing nursing school, Mrs. Bringhurst took transit whenever she needed and her husband relied on public transit to travel back and forth to work.

"Mommy's always been active," Margaret's daughter Barbara said. "She played golf until she was 95." Barbara also has a senior free ride card and contacted Pennsylvania State Representative Pam DeLissio to apply for Margaret's free ride card.

*Free rides for seniors are only allowed on SEPTA buses, trolleys and subways with proper identification. On Regional Rail lines, seniors (including those enrolled in the PACE and ACCESS programs) ride for just $1. A block of ten discounted tickets may be purchased for $8.50 at any rail ticket office or online at shop.septa.org. Seniors can sign-up for SEPTA's Seniors Ride Free Program by applying in person at a Customer Service Office on or after their 65th birthday. Applications are also accepted at local legislative offices and a variety of state agencies.

For more information about the Age-Friendly Philadelphia initiative, please see the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Progress Report: Laying the Foundation for an Age-friendly Philadelphia.

SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey Presents Mrs. Bringhurst with her SEPTA Senior Ride Free Card