SEPTA's ridership rises as gas prices climb

April 15, 2011 2:51:41 PM PDT
As gas prices keep going up, SEPTA ridership is on the rise.

"It's a lot cheaper to get on a the train than to drive," said Tish Gage of Northeast Philadelphia. "It's so much easier to get on SEPTA."

SEPTA ridership is up four percent from July to March compared to the year before. That's 10.1 million more trips made on Septa buses, trains, and trolleys.

"We've seen it before though. Whenever gas goes up over three dollars, ridership goes up," said Jerri Williams of SEPTA.

This week, the price of for a gallon of gas went up 8 cents to an average of $3.80 in the Philadelphia five-county region. That's changing the way people get where they need to go.

"I try to go places that are bus-accessible, especially if I have a transpass during the week," said Jovan Taylor of Olney.

"When you do the math, mass transit really does make sense. A weekly SEPTA transpass sells for $22. For that, right now, many of us can't even fill up half a tank of gas.

"If I drove and I parked it would cost me at least an extra $100 a month," said Ray Lorah of West Chester.

But while you feel the pain at the pump, SEPTA is avoiding rising gas prices. The transit agency locked into much lower prices for diesel fuel a year ago.

"We're going to be paying this year between $2.20 a gallon to $2.32 a gallon when diesel is actually at $4.27. We're doing very well," said Williams.