SEPTA considering $3 fares, 20 percent service reduction amidst ‘looming financial crisis’

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that SEPTA may raise its fares to $3 along with a 20 percent cut in service if Pennsylvania state legislature doesn’t further subsidize public transit.

Federal COVID relief funding is set to run out in April 2024, and the transit authority says it’s facing a recurring $240 million deficit starting in fiscal year 2025.

According to the article, SEPTA CEO Leslie S. Richards told the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee on Tuesday that the transit provider is considering reducing services to the “essential” levels last seen during the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Richards went on to explain that financial aid from the state can be seen as an investment. According to The Inquirer, “She said the cost of inaction would be to deprive state and local governments of $254.7 million annually as SEPTA service declined and shed more riders, and the region ground to a halt.”

“We are doing absolutely everything we can to grow revenue through ridership growth and tighten our belts through efficiencies, but those measures alone are not enough,” she said in April. “This will be the last budget proposal without service cuts and fare increases unless SEPTA receives additional support from our funding partners.”

Transit executives from Pittsburgh and agencies serving rural areas in the state told lawmakers they also need a stable source of state funding to help maintain service.

A sales tax was proposed to alleviate the fiscal burden and must be passed before December.

For the full story, you can click here. For more on SEPTA’s fiscal projections, you can click here.

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