PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA is working to ensure that service delays resulting from mandatory safety training don’t extend into the start of the new school year.
After eight crashes involving SEPTA vehicles in the last month, the transit agency has ordered safety training for all of its employees. That training has led to bus routes going unstaffed, as drivers attend their sessions.
Chief Operating Officer Scott Sauer says SEPTA will get its drivers back on the road as quickly as possible, so the 55,000 Philadelphia students who take SEPTA to school won’t be late when classes begin Sept. 5.
“We want to get all of our operators through this training so that, when school begins after Labor Day, we are ready to go, and that parents and children should not see these kinds of impacts into their service once school begins,” Sauer said Monday.
“Our focus in the first couple of weeks is going to be on our frontline staff and particularly our operators — bus and trolley and subway operators, specifically, in order to limit the impacts especially when we get into back-to-school time.”
Sauer says with 10% of its operators off the job each day for training, SEPTA is trying to limit the impact on riders.
“We’re taking a really focused approach as to how we schedule our operators so that we’re not unduly impacting all of the routes that come out of a particular location,” he said. “We are managing it in such a way to try to spread it out so that no one route or depot is taking the full hit.”
Safety training for SEPTA’s entire workforce is expected to take about eight weeks.