Aug. 28, 2012 9:30 am

SEPTA’s hybrid diesel buses are not “green,” says one transit advocate

Don’t believe the PR campaign, says one transit advocate, SEPTA has a long way to go if it wants to be “green,” just as the transit agency is being celebrated in other corners. Hidden City contributor Mike Szilagyi writes that the transit agency has moved away from cleaner, electric powered streetcars and towards “a dirty all […]

Don’t believe the PR campaign, says one transit advocate, SEPTA has a long way to go if it wants to be “green,” just as the transit agency is being celebrated in other corners.

Hidden City contributor Mike Szilagyi writes that the transit agency has moved away from cleaner, electric powered streetcars and towards “a dirty all diesel bus fleet,” while other cities are doing the opposite. Why?

SEPTA says it’s for money reasons, but Szilagyi suggests otherwise.

The true reasons seem to have more to do with SEPTA’s narrow institutional mind-set than with honest economics. Regarding SEPTA’s insistence on running diesel buses on what are supposed to be electric transit lines, long time City of Philadelphia Commissioner of Public Transportation Ed Tennyson has this to say: “It is absolutely true that buses are easier to manage than trackless trolleys. But taxpayers pay SEPTA management to do a good job, not to make life easy for themselves.” [more]

On the other hand, the transit agency has received plenty of positive attention for its initiative to capture and reuse lost energy from its subway trains, an effort led by local firm Viridity Energy.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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