SEPTA released its first Transformation Office Annual Progress Report. The report details the progress made in the first year of the Efficiency & Accountability (E&A) Program, a systematic approach to identifying and implementing process efficiencies and cultural improvements.
The E&A Program, which began in 2020, is a grassroots framework to brainstorm, evaluate, prioritize, and implement employee-driven efficiency initiatives while simultaneously improving collaboration. The program’s inaugural transformation plan is comprised of 140 initiatives collectively estimated to have $102 million in recurring annual benefits after a full three-year implementation cycle.
At the conclusion of the first year, SEPTA has already recognized $38.3 million in annual recurring benefits — nearly 38% of the plan’s total estimated benefits.
The benefits will not fix SEPTA’s financial challenges themselves. Upon exhaustion of federal COVID relief, SEPTA will reach a fiscal cliff at the end of FY2024. The authority will have to reduce spending beginning in FY2025 (summer of 2024) to make up for the expected budgetary deficit, which is currently projected to be approximately $270 million, or 15% of annual operating expenses. The program demonstrates SEPTA’s commitment to being a responsible steward of public funding and an organization worthy of additional public investment.
“Traditional cost reduction measures are only able to delay the inevitable, so SEPTA opted to reimagine our service, operations, and ability to innovate in order not only to survive, but to thrive,” said SEPTA CEO/GM Leslie S. Richards. “Through our Efficiency & Accountability Program, we set the Authority on a path for financial sustainability, as well as to make SEPTA a better place to work for our employees, create an improved experience for our riders, and elevate the positive impact we have on our community.”
This first year of the E&A Program demonstrates SEPTA’s commitment to becoming an organization that can adapt and transform. Once the initial 140 initiatives are implemented, SEPTA will look to its Transformation Office to continue to identify, prioritize, and implement new ideas, propelling the transformation through 2025 and beyond.