PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) - Day two of SEPTA’s transit troubles wasn’t much better than day one. There were more delays, more confusion and more heat.
With one-third of its Regional Rail rail fleet out of service, some commuters have been switching to buses or other means of transportation as suggested, while others dealt with delayed and packed trains.
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VIDEO TEAM COVERAGE: Passengers reading and knitting while waiting... Jenkintown commuter on train after 45-minute wait… 5:53 North Wales train running late… Regional Rail experience on the Main Line… Business booming for Uber, taxi drivers… 6:15 train from Ardmore a few minutes late…
Trains getting crowded.... pic.twitter.com/KzwKP13XWQ— Bob Kelly (@bobkellytraffic) July 6, 2016
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Regional Rail service will operate on a Saturday schedule with select enhancements but with the absence of the Silverliner V cars from the fleet all trains will be very crowded. Because of the reduced seating capacity and out of a concern for the safe travel of customers, some trains may not be able to stop to pick up additional riders, especially at stations closer to Center City. Given these conditions, SEPTA is asking customers to consider using other transit services as an alternate to Regional Rail.
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SEPTA officials say help is on the way.
"We are absolutely working on relief. And it seems like things are going the right way,” said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s General Manager.
He says the transit authority is in discussions with Amtrak and NJ Transit to lease temporary rail cars to alleviate some of the congestion of ten’s of thousands of commuters. It’s also working on a time table to repair the defective cars and get them back into service. That plan should be announced by the end of the week. Either way it could be weeks of months before the system is running back to normal.
“This is nothing that we’ve ever wanted for our customers. And we are working feverishly to try to restore this capacity we’ve lost,” said Knueppel.
But passengers frustrations seem to be rising like the temperature. Fans were brought into many the train platforms at Suburban Station where some passengers were waiting in the heat for more than an hour.
"You can’t move. The conductors can’t get around. And you know everybody is pissed off because you are trying to get home,” said Jimmy Thompson of Willow Grove.
Officials are encouraging train passengers to explore other modes of transit like busses, subway’s and the trolley system.
But some say they will wait it out.
“Pretty aggravating. Frustrating. But I could chose to drive on the Schuylkill which is way more frustrating. So I’ll take the air conditioned train over the Schuylkill Expressway any day,” said Dana Spero of Chestnut Hill.
SEPTA says it is now offering refunds and credit to those who purchased weekly or monthly rail passes. The deadline to get the refund is July 7th.
For the latest on SEPTA’s transit trouble visit their website at www.septa.org.