SEPTA is short railcars for commute

If your train’s been crowded recently, it’s not just your imagination.

SEPTA general manager Joe Casey said at a SEPTA Board meeting this afternoon.

Out of 349 railcars, 42 were out of service before yesterday’s storm, leaving the authority 20 cars short each day.

Of those, 18 are scheduled to be out of commission for 10 weeks, awaiting parts, while six to seven with wheel problems are scheduled to be back in service within a week.

Casey said that repairs are delayed by the age of some of the cars, which requires that new parts be specially fabricated. He added that he expects the 120 new Silverliner V railcars that SEPTA is purchasing to reduce maintenance problems and alleviate overcrowding.

Six of the new railcars are currently in SEPTA’s possession, though they’ve been taken out of service for testing. Casey said that three more should be delivered in February, but that it would take a month of testing before they enter revenue service.

Also at the board meeting, Beverly Harper of Portfolio Associates announced preliminary results from SEPTA’s customer satisfaction survey.

Her firm interviews 1,412 area residents, including 403 nonriders, and found that satisfaction with SEPTA has increased since the study was last conducted in 2008.

The Market-Frankford El and suburban trolley lines received the highest marks from riders, which Harper attributed to the extensive capital improvements SEPTA undertook on those modes over the past few years.

At the same time, non-riders’ opinions of SEPTA have declined in key areas, including convenience, reliability and their view of SEPTA as a “real or viable alternative to driving.”

Harper’s firm is still crunching numbers to explain the declines.

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