PHILADELPHIA (February 4, 2014) – The winter storm moving into the region tonight is expected to bring treacherous, icy conditions that could impact SEPTA services on all modes of travel throughout the transit system. For SEPTA – due to the crippling effect ice has on roads and rail infrastructure such as overhead lines that provide power to trains and trolleys – a storm that brings even a small amount of ice accumulation can deliver an impact similar to that of two feet of snow.
If the forecasts prove true, service disruptions are possible Wednesday morning. SEPTA is urging customers to plan ahead, and if possible, delay their morning commutes.
SEPTA staff will closely monitor the storm to assess conditions and determine the service adjustments necessary. SEPTA will announce all changes to service as soon as information is available, and when possible, in advance for customers.
SEPTA will hold a media briefing at 5 a.m. Wednesday at SEPTA headquarters to provide a status report on service and conditions throughout the transit system.
Below is a summary of some of the issues SEPTA may face, and steps being taken to maintain service and keep customers informed possible disruptions:
Proactive Measures & Additional Staffing
SEPTA will have additional personnel on-hand as of 11 p.m. Tuesday at the SEPTA Headquarters Command Center, and also in the field to monitor conditions. Personnel at bus depots and rail yards will take measures to address vehicle equipment concerns that come with this kind of weather. Track inspectors and maintenance crews, as well as signal maintainers and power crews, will be staged at various locations throughout the system to be available to address issues quickly. By deploying extra staff, SEPTA will be in the best possible position to quickly identify problems and take corrective action to minimize the impact to our riders.
Efforts to Preserve Service
The Market-Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line – SEPTA’s two busiest routes – will operate with train service overnight, rather than switch to Night Owl Bus service between 12:30 a.m. -5:30 a.m. as scheduled. This will keep additional buses off potentially icy roads, and help with efforts to continue service on these vital transit arteries. Also, trains that are not being used for this overnight service will be stored in subway tunnels -out of the elements, and prepped for Wednesday morning’s commute. SEPTA will also run pilot trains on Regional Rail lines and trolley routes overnight to help prevent ice from accumulating on overhead wires, which can cause service disruptions.
SEPTA will use all methods of communication available in an effort to keep customers up-to-date on service status. The best tool for customers is the System Status feature on the SEPTA website, which provides real-time service details and updates on possible disruptions. SEPTA will have additional staff on-hand to keep these online tools updated with the latest information. To access System Status, customers can go directly to https://www.septa.org/realtime/status/system-status.shtml, or go to our homepage, www.septa.org and click on the System Status icon on the left-hand side. This tool is also available on the SEPTA iPhone App. In addition, all service advisories will be sent out via Twitter, with simultaneous notices sent to local news outlets by the SEPTA Media Relations staff.
The SEPTA Customer Service Call Center will open early, at 5 a.m., and will be staffed with extra personnel. Customers can call (215) 580-7800 to speak to SEPTA representatives. The SEPTA Social Media Team (@SEPTA_Social) will also be available to answer inquiries via Twitter starting at 5 a.m.
For more information, such as schedules and trip-planning tools, customers can visit www.septa.org.