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SEPTA BOARD APPROVES $600 MILLION OPERATING BUDGET; SERVICE ADJUSTMENTS JUST 23 PERCENT OF $65 MILLION COST CUT

 SEPTA BOARD APPROVES $600 MILLION OPERATING BUDGET;
 SERVICE ADJUSTMENTS JUST 23 PERCENT OF $65 MILLION COST CUT
 PHILADELPHIA, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The SEPTA Board this afternoon approved a $600 million no-fare-increase Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 1993 (July 1, 1992-June 30, 1993) which reflects a $65 million cost reduction from the FY '93 budget that was forecasted a year ago, the Authority announced.
 SEPTA said the cost reductions involve a $25 million cut in staff costs, including headcount and wages. The remainder is made up of many operating efficiencies and about $15 million -- or just 23 percent of the $65 million -- in service reductions.
 The cuts will not retard the authority's reliability and quality goals, SEPTA said. Maintenance efforts will not be shortchanged, and Service Standards and Rider Report Card goals will be set even higher so that service will continue to improve, consistent with the trend set over the last several years.
 Some riders will see a reduction of service, however. The budget approved by the SEPTA Board today includes an average of 5 percent reduction in service levels, wherever appropriate. Also called for is the reduction of service on the Broad Street Line's Ridge Spur to weekday peak hours only (except during RailWorks shutdowns), and the substitution of buses for trolleys during the early morning hours on subway-surface Routes 10, 13 and 36.
 Money also will be saved through various management improvements and operating efficiencies, including the continuing reduction in claims costs which has permitted SEPTA to reduce the budget by $8 million for the coming fiscal year; consolidation of certain control functions plus more efficient scheduling and dispatching; changing selected low volume subway-elevated stations to exit only during off-peak hours; removing from service nearly 140 buses to improve mechanic/vehicle ratio; closing Luzerne Depot, and removing from service the 45-year old PCC trolley cars to eliminate their high maintenance costs.
 With the old trolleys gone, SEPTA said that as soon as possible all of Route 56 will be converted to trackless trolley operation, as will the upper and lower ends of Route 23. Converted temporarily to bus -- until new light rail vehicles can be purchased for Routes 15, 23 and 56, and major infrastructure repairs can be made -- will be all of Route 15 and the portion of Route 23 between Market Street and Erie Avenue.
 Because of concerns expressed about various proposed service reductions in SEPTA's proposal, the following amendment was added to the resolution that was adopted this afternoon: "The Chief Operations Officer/General Manager is directed to arrange a meeting of members of the SEPTA Board, and SEPTA staff, with representatives of the City of Philadelphia to discuss and attempt to resolve immediately concerns raised by the City; and in the event that resolution of these concerns requires changes in the approved budget, the Chief Operations Officer/General Manager is further directed to recommend to the Board necessary amendments and/or modifications to the approved budget, which will reflect these changes."
 SEPTA reported that the Fiscal Year 1993 budget of $665 million forecasted a year ago was only about three percent higher than the Fiscal Year 1992 budget, and that the forecast came when there was general hope for improvement in the country's economic prospects. When it became clear that the economy would not recover, and that riders could not be asked to pay higher fares because of the economy, SEPTA knew it had to reduce costs by $65 million.
 Two major factors made up the $65 million, SEPTA said, including stable ridership at a depressed level (no recovery of lost riders) and subsidy losses.
 Stable ridership: With no recovery of lost ridership expected, SEPTA said that revenue will be $32 million less than forecasted a year ago.
 Subsidy losses: The Commonwealth's proposed budget is $14 million less than originally forecasted; SEPTA's dedicated funding revenue from the State is substantially less than predicted, resulting in a loss of $15 million in "asset maintenance" funding; and because of the State shortfalls, an additional $4 million in matching funds will be lost. This totals another $33 million.
 /delval/
 -0- 6/25/92
 /CONTACT: SEPTA Press Relations, 215-580-7842/ CO: SEPTA ST: Pennsylvania IN: TRN SU:


CC -- PH050 -- 4018 06/25/92 18:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 25, 1992
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