It’s been a devastating past week for SEPTA. The public transportation company suffered a total of five crashes within a week’s span. Rightfully so, Philadelphians are concerned with safety issues. SEPTA officials however, have reassured the public the incidents are not connected but are an “unfortunate coincidence”.
It all began on July 21 when two SEPTA buses collided on Roosevelt Boulevard. At least 19 people were injured and one person, 72-year-old Siu Nam Mak, was tragically killed as a result of the crash.
Just two days later, a bus struck an electrical pole in Fishtown injuring four people.
Next, on July 24, two trolleys collided in Upper Darby leaving five people hospitalized. Luckily their injuries were non-life-threatening.
It doesn’t end there.
July 25, a SEPTA bus jumped the curb at 15th and Walnut Streets and struck a building. The bus was occupied only by the driver, however, officials haven’t said how the driver lost control.
And lastly, on July 27 an out-of-service trolley slammed into the historic Blue Bell Inn in Southwest Philadelphia.
Reinforce The Basics
Calls for more training and safety measures are front and center as SEPTA deals with the aftermath of these crashes.
SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said they are not connected.
“Unfortunate coincidence,” he said. “We don’t have any one systemic issue.”
In response, SEPTA has started sending safety officials and supervisors to all the depots to make sure everyone is on the same page — something the transit agency usually does a few times a year.
“It’s an opportunity to reinforce some of those basic but very important practices,” said Busch. “We’ve been doing that since early this week and that will continue through this week.”
Transparency Is Key
SEPTA’s public transit’s board is aware of the public concern telling Axios that it was “troubled” by the crashes, which “shake the public’s confidence in SEPTA.”
Notedly, the board said it is committed to publicly sharing and fixing issues identified by the ongoing investigations.
“We have stressed to executive staff that they need to be transparent,” the board said.