1964 was a momentous year for transportation.
Car enthusiasts will remember it as the year Ford revolutionized the auto industry with the introduction of the Mustang.
In the public transit world, 1964 marked the world’s first high-speed rail network (in Japan), the first driverless train (on the London Underground - video), double-decker cars being introduced on suburban railways in Sydney and Northern California breaking ground — with President Lyndon B. Johnson in attendance — on the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) system.
Fifty years ago was an important time for public transportation in the Philadelphia region, too. On Feb. 18, 1964, the organizational meeting that established what is now the nation's sixth largest transportation agency— the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) — was held.
SEPTA was formed at a time when local, nearly bankrupt transit and rail companies were looking to exit the passenger business altogether. The transit system was charged with the planning, development, and coordination of a regional transportation system for Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery (Pa.) counties, which started with the absorption of the Philadelphia Transit Co. (PTC) in September 1968.
SEPTA will celebrate its golden anniversary
throughout 2014, posting "Throwback Thursday" and "Flashback Friday" features on a special website
. And, in keeping with its commitment to public service, the agency is asking passengers to join the party by sharing their "first ride" stories and participating in contests via iSEPTAPHILLY.com
“We know that there are people who, although they have moved from the Philadelphia region, still fondly recall taking the train to the city for special family day out or riding the bus to school,” said SEPTA GM Joe Casey. “We are inviting all of our customers, past and current, near and far, to send their SEPTA memories.“
SEPTA is also using its anniversary to establish an official archive, to which the public, transit enthusiasts, and current and former transit system employees can contribute SEPTA artifacts and memorabilia they have collected over the last 50 years.
“This is the first time we will host a formal site for SEPTA photos, documents and keepsakes,” said Casey.
For information about SEPTA’s fabulous 50th festivities and how to contribute memories and items to the archive, click here
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Transit tech's future showcased at ITS World Congress"
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Regional (commuter) Rail system was inherited from the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads and the infrastructure in many sections of the system has been serving the Philadelphia area for more than 100 years. Fifteen years ago, overhead catenary system (OCS) failures were a common occurrence on SEPTA Regional Rail, a result of fatigue cracks and wear. The all too common OCS failures were frustrating for SEPTA customers who occasionally found it difficult to depend on train service for their travels and for SEPTA, whose crews were constantly working to repair and maintain the system.
London is one of the grand cities of the world and in the midst of the cycling revolution. Led by the city’s transport organization – Transport for London, but supported by more fundamental changes in the city’s society, economy and perceptions of lifestyle and mobility, cycling is “on a roll”!
Tech-enabled ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft already appear to be acting as a complement to public transit. Uber analyzed its Los Angeles trip data to in this light. Over the course of a month, Uber found that 22 percent of trips taken near Metro stations took place during rush hour (between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday). This data could be telling us that people are using Uber like they might use bikeshare, as a last-mile and first-mile connection to transit.
Driverless cars have been in the news for quite some time. Last September, I speculated in PC 360, an insurance trade magazine, that insurance premiums for autos could decrease by as much as 40% over the next five years as autonomous cars made travel much safer. I increased my estimate to a 75% decrease in insurance premiums by extending the timeline to 15 years. When I wrote those two articles, I remember thinking how much of a personal paradigm shift was needed to accept a driverless car as safe. Now, it appears that driverless buses are in the near future as well.
What do transit authorities like SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART have in common other than transporting thousands, even millions of riders every day? All were recently ranked as four of the U.S.’s 500 “Best Employers” by Forbes magazine.
SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART were among 25 organizations included in Forbes’ “Transportation & Logistics” category, along with Southwest Airlines, Amtrak, CSX, Union Pacific and Greyhound. In fact, SEPTA (#33) and MBTA (#49) placed higher than Apple (#55) and SEPTA was the highest ranked company in Pennsylvania.