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 benefits of using public transit are many — environmentally friendly, less stressful than driving and no time wasted sitting in traffic, to name a few. For commuters in cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Montreal, there are even more advantages for using transit — discounts at local businesses for using bus/train/trolley passes.
Ask commuters who drive between Houston and Dallas almost every day and see what they have to say. They are known as “super commuters” – the nearly 50, 000 people traveling back and forth between the two cities at least once a week. That number will increase as the growth in Texas continues to climb. Super commuters and other drivers want another solution to Texas’ traffic-clogged highways. Enter the Texas Central high-speed rail project...
For many college engineering and architecture students, it’s probably a good bet that they have not given much consideration to careers in public transportation. Members of the SEPTA's Engineering, Maintenance and Construction Division have worked closely with Philadelphia-area university students to introduce them to job opportunities in the realm of mass transit.
When it comes to communicating that people have transportation options besides their own drive-alone cars, the transit industry is getting its lunch handed to it, and has been for decades. It must face that it’s a fringe player that wants to become mainstream. And it’s not getting any easier. While we hear so many great stories about options presented by bikeshare systems and technology and Uber, the fact remains that people are buying cars more than ever.
Winter Storm Jonas socked Philadelphia with 22.4 inches of snow in January. In some areas of the five-county SEPTA service region, snowfall totals were well over two feet. As a result of forecasted high winds, zero visibility and significant snow, SEPTA suspended service on all modes — with the exception of the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway-elevated lines, its two busiest routes — beginning at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23.