Shock Doctrine being Applied to Philadelphia’s Public Transit System

So there were two articles published by the Philadelphia Daily News / Philadelphia Inquirer this past week that has to deal with Septa – the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.  One article has to do with how beneficial Septa is to those who work in Center City Philadelphia and the second article deals with the Republican made, ginned up, fake economical crisis the transportation system is dealing.  Septa, like education and other entities that provide a public service, is extremely important for those living in the 5 county region and is extremely important for the region’s and commonwealth’s economy because this part of the state is the economic powerhouse for the Commonwealth – which is something that Republicans from  everywhere that isn’t Southeastern, Pennsylvania would like to deny.  So Septa isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but after reading today’s article on Septa’s “doomsday plan” to bring it from the brink because it is underfunded by the state shows that the entity is ripe for privatization.  This is classic Shock Doctrine.

The Good

On September 10, the Philly Inky released the results of “How Philadelphia Gets to Work: Investing for Growth,” a report conducted by the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corp.  And here are some highlights from article:

About 62 percent of Center City workers who commute from the suburbs or other parts of Philadelphia rely on public transit, walking, or biking to get to their jobs, according to a new report by the Center City District.

And a survey of 5,000 people working between Girard Avenue and Tasker Street and between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers found 69.5 percent reported using public transit, while only 19.8 percent commuted by private car. Others said they walked or biked

So roughly 70 percent of those working in Center City Philadelphia use public transit to get to work, and those who rely on public transportation are lower and middle class workers (who’d a thunk it?).

Younger and poorer workers were less likely to drive: About 11 percent of those with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year drove to work, while 28.1 percent with incomes over $200,000 commuted by car. Among workers 18 to 24 years old, only 7 percent drove to work, while about 20 percent of those between 40 and 64 drove.

The number of people taking trains, buses, subways, and trolleys into Center City on an average weekday has grown from 265,087 in 2003 to 305,238, according to the report’s authors.

So it’s obvious that public transportation is a needed and growing entity, and it’s obvious that this entity won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

The Bad

On September 12, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Septa unveiled it’s “doomsday plan.”  This article states:

SEPTA has drafted a doomsday plan to eliminate 9 of its 13 rail lines and shorten two others, close a subway line, and convert trolley routes to bus lines, if the state doesn’t come up with more money for public transit this year.

The “service realignment plan” would begin next year and continue slashing service until 2023, when the SEPTA system would be a shadow of its current self. SEPTA estimates the plan would cost it at least 40 million passengers a year, about 12 percent of its ridership.

So who is to blame for this mess?

“Faced with Gov. Corbett’s proposal for $1.8 billion in additional funding, a $2.5 billion bill approved by the state Senate, or a $2 billion plan offered by House Republican leaders, state lawmakers recessed on July 1 without approving any of them.”

Now, “it’s time to pay the piper,” Casey said Thursday before testifying to the Senate committee.

The Shock Doctrine

So here we have this entity that is extremely important to millions living in the Southeastern part of the state.  This entity is growing each year, but this entity is being neglected by those working in Harrisburg.  This neglect is on purpose and what it is doing is basically drowning the system in a bathtub until that system is weak or cease to operate.  With this made up crisis, I’d say we’re at the point where Septa’s head is just starting to be held in the bathtub by Republicans who see this program as a welfare program.

The next step of the process is to sell off the system so the infrastructure problems can be paid fixed by the sales of the system.  But, instead of having state or local government picking up the tab and keeping the responsibility of maintaining the system, our tax dollars will be diverted to some rich asshole billionaire who doesn’t give a shit about how you get to work or travel throughout the region.  And on top of these rich assholes stealing your tax dollars – since the entity has been privatized – costs of maintaining the system will be shifted upon those who solely ride the buses or rails.  And to boot, since this entity is now driven for the sole purpose of a profit margin, which is how the private sector works,  fare hikes will be a hell of a lot more than you are paying now.


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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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2 Comments on Shock Doctrine being Applied to Philadelphia’s Public Transit System

  1. Dismantle public transit; frack everywhere; to hell with greenhouse gas concerns, climate change, global warming, needs of the people and the plight of the planet. This is what Corpocracy looks like!

  2. There go the Rethugs doing what they do best: shooting themselves – and the citizens of our state – in the foot! How stupid, short-sighted, greedy and utterly without integrity can they be?? The lot of them deserve to be impeached, along with Corbett.

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