PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There have been no fare increases this year, but as SEPTA officials discuss their budget, a top priority for them is improving safety.
Hours after SEPTA's first budget hearing on Monday morning, officers responded to an incident at 33rd and Market on Drexel's campus.
According to SEPTA, no one was hurt, but a gun was displayed on the platform after a verbal dispute. Investigators are actively looking for the suspect who got away.
"Safety and security funding is budgeted to increase 50% in the coming budget year, so it's a major priority for us so that would include those outreach specialists," explained Septa spokesperson Andrew Busch.
According to our Action News Data Journalism Team, SEPTA's fiscal year overall budget increased by 2% from 2020 to 2022. Their proposed $1.6 billion plan funds everyday expenses to make sure SEPTA is operating smoothly. About two weeks ago, SEPTA announced additional officers were being added to the force.
"Eyes and ears for police, a visible security presence, they are funded in both the current budget year and the year coming up," Busch said.
While safety is a top priority for them, they also know it's a concern for riders - which they need to see more of. Incidents increased as ridership decreased during the pandemic.
"Before the pandemic we had about a million trips per day," said Busch. "Right now we're at about 530,000."
For SEPTA, it's a critical component to their functionality to get people back out riding. They are looking to add about 20 officers to their police count.
SEPTA says it's a lengthy hiring process, but if you are interested in becoming an officer you can fill out an application online.