Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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Matthew Mitchell
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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by Matthew Mitchell » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:07 pm

Tritransit Area wrote: Here's more on SEPTA's NPT site at http://www.septa.org/fares/npt/what.html:
For SEPTA, the new fare payment system is projected to reduce operating and maintenance costs. This will be accomplished through improved revenue accountability and operating efficiencies gained from system automation and decisions made using information in real time.
That's all true, and the other benefits (particularly better ridership data) have been underemphasized in the debate over the project, but it dodges the big enchilada, which is reducing the number of employees needed for fare collection.
What also makes this system good for SEPTA (politically) is that they are working towards becoming as efficient as possible, making politicians look at SEPTA more favorably and perhaps won't balk as much when SEPTA asks for more funding.
There is a lot of that going on, including stuff that makes us cringe, like the Pattison station renaming. However, it makes a very big impression on legislative leaders and other elected officials when there are visible efforts to maximize outside revenue.

One thing SEPTA has been very good at since the Gambaccini years is creative finance (the constructive kind), and that's what they used to get the NPT project going. We vetted that deal and the Silverliner V lease transaction about the same time pretty carefully and don't see anything improper or irresponsible about them: the Silverliner deal saves SEPTA about a quarter point on finance costs--the people that count notice that stuff.

John Scott, PA-TEC
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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by John Scott, PA-TEC » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:49 pm

Is there a published dollar amount to these savings projections? An unsupported, open ended statement projecting a savings is meaningless. "Efficiency" without any quantifying data is also meaningless.

Having dissected the 422 project studies and projections last year, it's very clear to me that if SEPTA believed they could save money, they would put a number on it. That project had all sorts of year-by-year accounting, showing exactly when tolls would begin paying principle, cash flow, capital budget, etc. Ironically, these studies convinced many of us that the project would NOT succeed - for example, that $60 million a year wasn't going to build and run a train to Reading AND rebuild a highway, and anyway you just couldn't make $60 million a year charging 65,000 drivers a "modest" $2 in tolls.

I've personally met Mr. Burnfield at SEPTA, and though I disagree with SEPTA's direction, Burnfield is a sharp financial manager. If there's no estimate, it's not because he didn't know how to do one - it's because there are no savings to report. Or, it's because there are huge savings, but the headcount reduction is a secret. One or the other.

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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by R5Dailyrider » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:43 pm

With the improvements being made to Wayne Junction how much per revenue passenger on a daily basis is being spent?

I am betting over $100,000 per passenger? Any other guesses?

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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by jfrey40535 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:53 pm

Interesting point. Some of SEPTA's projects are spending more money per square foot than what was spent per square foot on the new Comcast Center. WJ falls into that category, as does some of SEPTA's famous bus loops.

John Scott, PA-TEC
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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by John Scott, PA-TEC » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:27 pm

I believe it's around $50,000 per existing revenue passenger for WJ, no new riders expected. I'm open to discuss any alternative calculations as these are rough estimates.

When we were doing presentations on Newtown we were calculating that the Jenkintown Garage project was adding net parking spots at upwards of $100,000 apiece, all of which would be for existing drivers (as SEPTA claimed in their demand study it would get parked cars off the streets and convince walkers to start driving) with about another $20,000 going to each rider for station improvements. Averaged out it was about $33,000 per rider, no new riders added.

Our calculations put Newtown at approximately $100,000 per NEW rider. If the costs were spread across both new and existing riders, the tab would also be about $33,000 per revenue rider, but it would have added 1500 of them in the process. Even if we believe the SEPTA/DVRPC propaganda that Newtown would simply siphon off of Warminster and West Trenton, and add no new riders, the cost was still around $50,000 per rider.

In other words, we could add a new line for about the same cost per existing rider as any of the existing projects, and possibly for far less. I am unaware of any capital improvement that adds new riders cheaper than plain old expansion.

Bus loops are now running in the range of $100-$400 per square foot, including the entire site, not just the buildings. By comparison, the Comcast was about $400 per square foot in today's dollars.

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Re: Wayne Junction-Scope, Cost and Necessity of Project

Post by Woodcrest295 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:00 pm

Does anyone know the what is going on at Wayne Junction?

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