Today (Tuesday, September 8, 2020) SEPTA released its COVID-19 recovery plan, which includes a comprehensive look at lessons-learned so far through the pandemic, and a framework for moving ahead in this challenging environment.
“SEPTA – Move Better Together” demonstrates how teams at SEPTA are planning scenarios based on projections for the pandemic, the economy and social behaviors. It captures SEPTA’s efforts to partner with experts in the industry to incorporate best practices from peer agencies across the nation, as well as examples from cities worldwide that are further along in the recovery process.
“SEPTA has demonstrated throughout the pandemic that transit is essential infrastructure,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “We provided lifeline service to essential workers and we’re now focused on meeting the region’s changing needs and preparing for future demands.”
Some new measures are being implemented immediately. For example, to ease travel for customers who also bike for part of their trip, SEPTA is allowing riders to bring bicycles with them during peak hours on all trains, including Regional Rail, the Market-Frankford Line, the Broad Street Line and the Norristown High Speed Line.
SEPTA is also continuing to engage customers about health and safety through its Social Distancing Coaches program, and providing free masks for customers whenever possible.
“To better understand and address immediate needs and concerns, SEPTA has communicated with our customers in-person, through social media, and with a customer travel survey,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We learned that the most critical issues are mask wearing, cleaning and sanitizing, and ensuring safe social distancing. SEPTA has moved quickly with resources and new plans to address these concerns, and we will continue to build on these initiatives moving forward.”
SEPTA has implemented a deeper and more robust cleaning regimen focused on sanitizing surfaces, filtering and refreshing the air riders breathe, including:
· Mobilizing task forces to enhance the cleaning of surfaces and augment and improve ventilation protocols in vehicles, stations and offices.
· Continuing the use of EPA-approved disinfectants to kill germs, and cleaning and sanitizing vehicles a minimum of twice daily.
· Improving the quality of air on-board vehicles by upgrading to high-efficiency filters. This further enhances the environment on vehicles, which are designed to have the air inside refreshed every two-to-three minutes.
· Requiring all customers and employees to wear face coverings.
SEPTA is also reaching its customers through collaborative efforts with regional employers. SEPTA has provided them with an Employer Tool Kit to share with workers, and is helping with efforts to plan their near-term travel needs.
The recovery plan also details SEPTA’s commitment to evaluating every aspect of its business with a focus on equity and inclusive growth. The recovery will build on existing sustainability programs, improve the customer experience through efforts such as a new Rail Transit Wayfinding Master Plan, and re-thinking service through initiatives such as the Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign.
“SEPTA will emerge from the pandemic as a more efficient and agile organization,” Richards said. “Public transportation is essential for creating opportunity and for building a more sustainable region. We are committed to delivering safe, reliable and accessible service through this recovery and beyond. Together, we ride on.”
To view the full recovery plan, “SEPTA – Move Better Together,” click here.