SEPTA estimates it is spending $257,035 per month to lease train cars from regional transit agencies to help alleviate the loss of one-third of its Regional Rail fleet, which were pulled from service July 1.
After more than a week running on a modified Saturday schedule, the transit agency expanded its offerings Monday to get closer to normal weekday capacity. General Manager Jeff Knueppel said the new interim schedule still left some passengers stranded and train cars overcrowded Monday morning. He added that SEPTA is still looking into more equipment-leasing options.
"A lot of changes went into place today. We're still seeing delays on the railroad," he said. "It is the kind of situation that is going to continue on, and crowding. But we continue to work toward making things better."
The new schedule added trains and stations, with tweaked arrival and departure times for the 13 Regional Rail lines that connect Philadelphia to its suburbs.
Knueppel said SEPTA is still encouraging customers to switch to trolleys, subways, and buses, which have not faced overcrowding even as train platforms grew so packed that police had to intervene.
SEPTA said it is adding 18 passenger cars and three locomotives leased from other transportation agencies.
Per week, SEPTA is leasing five coaches from the Maryland Area Regional Commuter train service for $19,462 per week; one locomotive and eight coaches from NJ Transit for $15,570 per week; and two locomotives and five coaches from Amtrak for $16,375 per week.
Today, SEPTA counted 574 commuter trains running, a 4.6 percent increase over the 549 trains running last week.
Before the fleet shortage arose, SEPTA ran 788 trains on an average weekday.