SEPTA posts deficits

Though ridership has recovered since November’s transit strike, SEPTA closed out 2009 with a December deficit of $6.5 million and a fiscal year to date deficit of $16 million.

December passenger revenue was $2.5 million, or 7.6 percent worse than what was budgeted, according to the financial report released at the January SEPTA Board meeting. Passenger revenue was $15.2 million, or 7.5 percent below budget for the first half of the fiscal year.

Hardest hit by the economic downturn and ridership falloff has been the City Transit Division, which was $10.8 million in the red for the first half of the fiscal year.

Operating expenses for the first six months of the fiscal year also came in $6.9 million over budget. SEPTA CFO and treasurer Richard Burnfield attributed that increase to signing bonuses for workers covered under new union contracts, as well as costs associated with snow removal and increased payouts in lawsuits against the authority.

The $7 million Gov. Rendell provided to pay for the signing bonuses offset those cost increases, however.

The SEPTA Board also approved a series of contracts and leases reviewed by its administration and operations committees. You can read about them here (

Posted by Anthony Campisi. Contact the reporter at

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