Philadelphia is middle of the pack for public transit

The Philadelphia area’s public transit system is not the worst, but not nearly the best, when it comes to getting people to work.  A new study by the Brookings Institution that ranks the region right in the center.Adie Tomer, one of the authors of the study, said across the 100 largest metropolitan areas, 30 percent of jobs can be reached by public transit.”Now unfortunately Philadelphia’s actually a little bit worse than that, for them it’s only 1 in 4 jobs on average are normally reachable,” said Tomer.The study included counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland in the Philadelphia metro area.  Honolulu took first place, followed by San Jose, Salt Lake City, and Tucson.”To say that Honolulu ranks number one…is kind of irrelevant,” said SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney,”Given the square miles of Honolulu which is 82 square miles and the 9 county area including Northern Maryland that the study includes, is over 4,000 square miles,” Maloney said.  “So it’s really apples to oranges.”Maloney said for mass transit agencies, it all comes down to money: will enough people use the transit to justify the spending?Adie Tomer of Brookings said transit agencies have to adapt to new development patterns, such as a growing suburban job base.Matthew Mitchell of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers said SEPTA has done a very good job of serving reverse commuters.  “Some of the routes in these areas are very specifically tailored to serve that,” said Mitchell.  “For instance, the Route 80 bus up into Horsham is designed specifically for those reverse commuters and runs at hours when those people need to get to and from work.”Mitchell said employers are filling in gaps in the mass transit system, providing shuttle buses that go to and from train stations.

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