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The Express Newsletter From Jawnt - #4

The Express Newsletter From Jawnt - #4

What the I-95 collapse means for Philly, transit's uneven ridership recovery, and more.

Jawnt Team
July 11, 2023

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⏲️ In brief

🚧 What does the I-95 bridge collapse mean for the future of transit in Philadelphia?

🎫 The history of transit fares, from tokens to tap-and-go. Read more in our recent blog post.

  • The technology we use to pay for a ride on public transit is constantly evolving.
  • We gave a brief overview of this topic in our last newsletter, but now we’ve gone deeper with a blog post examining the history of transit fare payments.

🚎 Mobility news

Screenshot from the surprisingly entertaining I-95 livestream
Screenshot from the I-95 livestream

🚧 Deeper dive:  I-95 bridge collapse

  • In the wake of the I-95 bridge collapse, many expected the worst.
  • But repairs are ahead of schedule, and Philly avoided cataclysmic congestion.
  • The better-than-expected traffic in the weeks following the collapse offers an important lesson:
    - We often think about rush hour traffic as a fixed demand for roadway…
    - But the immediate aftermath of the collapse showed that people can adapt their travel fairly easily.
    - People can switch routes, skip discretionary trips, or take another mode.
  • Americans tend to assume there isn’t enough roadway, but the takeaway from this incident is that there’s probably too much!
  • So what does it mean for transit?
    - SEPTA stepped up to the plate and added more service to several Regional Rail lines.
    - The immediate impact was a 14% jump in ridership across four lines.
  • But the long-term impact may be more transformative…
    - In the wake of the collapse, City Council scheduled hearings on the long-proposed Roosevelt Avenue Subway.
    - Councilmember Mike Driscoll has pointed out that if the project were built, Northeast Philly would be less reliant on I-95 in the future.
  • So far the bridge collapse has led to positive indicators for Philly transit, but with temporary lanes on I-95 already open, we’ll be watching to see if the momentum holds 👀

🚇 The uneven recovery of transit ridership

  • Not all transit agencies are faring the same in terms of regaining ridership: Depending on the week, New York’s MTA reaches 70-85% of its pre-pandemic ridership.
  • SEPTA is a bit farther behind, reaching 50-65% in recent weeks.
  • In the San Francisco area, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has struggled more than some of its peers.
    - Its ridership has been hanging between 35-42% of pre-pandemic levels.
    - The system was designed to serve commuters coming into San Francisco from the suburbs…
    - So it has been hit particularly hard by remote work flexibility.
  • BART and many of its peer agencies are exploring different ways to reinvent themselves to adapt to the new normal.
    - This includes seeking new sources of funding to offset decreased fare revenue,
    - Changing fare structures to attract more riders,
    - And adapting transit service to fit rider needs beyond the 9-5 commute.

🧡 Jawnt news

🚋 It’s conference season! We’ll be at the APTAtech Conference in Anaheim and ACT's Annual International Conference in Seattle. Let us know if you’ll be there - we’d love to catch up!

🚴 Jawnt’s own Leo Walsh and Andreas Mazarakis went to 30th Street Station last month to help our customer Amtrak
enroll their employees in subsidized Indego bike share passes.

🚌 Interested in joining the Jawnt team or know someone who might be? We’re hiring! Take a look at our
current job postings.

💐 Potpourri

🚌 Philadelphia’s newly passed FY2024 city budget includes dedicated funds to provide free transit passes for city employees as well as individuals living at or near the poverty level.

🔔 Leslie Richards, CEO & GM of SEPTA, was highlighted in a recent profile by Philly Mag. It’s worth the read if you have 30 minutes to spare :)

🏢 A great benefits package is a difference maker in a competitive job market and can foster higher worker engagement and productivity. We’ve gathered everything you need to know about the world of employee benefits in our latest blog post.

Jawnt Team

The Jawnt blog

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