SEPTA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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COMMUNICATIONS

Making information available to SEPTA employees and customers, about service and service changes, is one of the Authority's critical business objectives. Improving the way we communicate and the tools and options available to get information to customers is one of the most important aspects of our Regional Rail service improvement program. Paper timetables and poster notices will always be staples in our communication program but in the digital age we understand that customers expect and want rapid access to current service conditions delivered to them - via their phones and tablets - before they arrive at their station. Consistency, accuracy, and timeliness of communications, especially in the event of a service delay or emergency is essential and the Authority is working to build a diverse portfolio of tools - traditional and digital/social platforms - to address a diverse and highly mobile customer and employee base.


Real-Time Information

Real Time Vehicle Location (RTVL) Project:

  • Updated Official SEPTA iPhone and Android apps, launched on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, features Real Time Vehicle information for Regional Rail trains. Enhanced data provides customers with current information about scheduled service and in-service delays
  • RTVL shows real time vehicle locating information with updates on vehicle position every thirty (30) seconds for all SEPTA Regional Rail cars and about one minute updates for Buses
    • Improved display of current train location
    • Data from RTVL currently driving information displayed on AVPA signage, TrainView, and TransitView on SEPTA website and SEPTA Mobile App
    • New map and service information

TrainView

  • Data will be delivered to Control Center, mobile apps, SEPTA website to display train location and arrival times for service on:
    • SEPTA operating territory
    • In Rail Tunnels
    • ON AMTRAK TERRITORY (Greatly improved information)


New App Downloads - Since Version 2 Launched

October November December January
(to date)
TOTAL COMBINED
TOTAL
iOS
4,262 5,099 4,857 4,369 18,587 50,213
Android 8,081 8,405 8,339 6,801 31,626
  • New Apps perform well for normal service operations but issues arise when significant service delays occur
  • Manual adjustments required to reflect train annulments, etc., which can make it difficult for personnel when widespread changes occur as in severe weather events
  • App development team looking at ways to address


Social Media

  • SEPTA Social Media information personnel located in Control Center to facilitate delivery of information
  • All Regional Rail Line specific Twitter notices have been linked to @SEPTA_Social to maximize broadcast of service messaging
  • Campaign in development to promote availability of real time information tools for customers - Twitter, Ready Notify, Next to Arrive, System Status launching third quarter of 2017


On-Board Announcements

  • Control Center Dispatchers contact Crews to inform them about delays or Police related activity
    • Adding Control Center personnel to provide additional resources to relay customer communication information to Crews
    • Enables Dispatchers to focus more on resolving operational issues without compromising customer outreach
    • Piloting using new, handheld SEPTA Key fare validation equipment to relay service delay information to Crews

  • Conductors/Assistant Conductors relay information to customers
    • Special Conductor Communication Skills Training developed. Rollout of program deferred to spring 2018 to coordinate with introduction of SEPTA Key for Regional Rail
    • Working to establish critical balance to maintain safety while keeping customers updated - Ongoing
    • Keeping customers informed of delays over 2 - 3 minutes - Ongoing


Service Emergency Response Team Project

  • Service Emergency Response Team (SERT) Program
    • SEPTA employees with Ambassador experience are assigned to specific lines/stations
    • SERT Team members will
      • Assist Operations personnel at stations for AM or PM Weekday events
      • Assist customers with information or service alternatives as appropriate
      • All employees participating in the program have vests identifying them as SEPTA SERT responder
    • Currently 160 employees recruited to cover Regional Rail network - split into north and south teams
    • Training and orientation held early June (2017)
    • Program launched in June