During the holiday season, many companies participate in activities to give back to those in need. At Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), community involvement is part of the culture.
Individually, SEPTA’s employees are active members of their neighborhoods, local organizations and places of worship. Collectively, the authority consistently looks for opportunities that will make an impact for the greater good in its service region.
From donating thousands of toys to local children in need during the annual holiday “Yule Toy” drive to helping beautify neighborhoods for the Philadelphia Mayor’s spring cleanup and joining with customers to collect tons of food during the summer food drive, giving to others is a way of daily operations.
Every holiday season for more than 30 years, SEPTA employees have donated thousands of presents for deserving children in the Greater Philadelphia region.
“We are a service organization, with an emphasis on service, and provide our neighbors with more than just a means of transportation,” said SEPTA GM Joseph Casey. “This is our home and it is our responsibility to give back.”
SEPTA recently extended its community service commitment beyond the Greater Philadelphia region by teaming with the Philadelphia Sports Congress to collect items for care packages to be sent to U.S. troops stationed around the world via Operation Gratitude.
Members of the armed forces, joined by volunteers at SEPTA’s AT&T Station and Philadelphia Headquarters and other Center City locations, collected toiletries, socks, scarves, gloves, CDs, gift cards, and letters of appreciation for servicemen and women.
(From left) Lt. Vaughn Cooper, Lt. Commander Sal Torres and Lt. Joe Bossi collected donations and signed cards from passengers at SEPTA's AT&T Broad Street Line Station.
“The gifts are very much appreciated,” said Lt. Vaughn Cooper, who collected items at AT&T Station on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line.
“Even in this time of email, when there is a letter or package from back home, the feeling is so great,” added Lt. Commander Sal Torres, who was also at the station.
The collection was held in conjunction with the Army-Navy game, which will return to Philadelphia in 2012. Those who donated supplies or signed cards were given the opportunity to win tickets to next year’s game.
“The holidays are a time to be with family, but for many members of our armed forces, the season will be spent thousands of miles from home,” said Casey. “We were pleased to be able to join with the Sports Congress in showing our appreciation for our service men and women by sending small gifts and words of thanks overseas.”
As vital components of their communities that rely on citizens for increased ridership and support, public transit agencies should find ways to make the spirit of giving last not only for the holidays, but throughout the year.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "How do you change the public's perception?" here.
The recently adjourned 2016 Democratic National Convention put Philadelphia in the national — and international — spotlight once again. For the third time in four years, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority transported thousands of visitors to the City of Brotherly Love and its surrounding counties. As with the U.S. Open in 2013 and the World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit in 2015, public transit was a key component for all event activities.
Everywhere, evidence reveals how we’re moving into a less-consumptive, sharing-based society. Whether it’s people’s homes, torrent files or a car ride downtown, sharing is in. As environmentally conscious and economically prudent reducers and re-users, millennials are choosing non-traditional forms of transportation. This behavior has already had a huge impact on the way the transit industry is planning for its future.
How do you replace the institutional knowledge and subject expertise of a 40-year employee? You do it through succession planning, which is especially necessary in the transportation industry where senior level managers often have well over 25 years’ experience.
Lao Tzu, the famous tactician and the author of "The Art of War," wrote “To lead people, walk beside them.” As leaders, we sometimes forget to step outside of our own job duties to understand the unique needs and perspective of our workforce. With the many vital roles we play each day to keep our companies running, we may think our time is too scarce to walk beside our most entry level workers. It's a belief that has resulted in many organizations’ lowered morale and catastrophic financial losses.
In February, the FTA finalized its grant management requirements circular governing the administration and management of all FTA grant programs. This revision incorporates changes to these programs contained in both authorizations that have been enacted in recent years, the FAST Act and MAP-21. While some provisions the revised circular are welcome and needed because of enactment of these new laws, it also contains changes that are not only unnecessary but could threaten the industry’s health.