Message from General Manager
May Report to the Board and our Customers
In preparation for each Board Meeting, PATCO prepares a report for inclusion in the Agenda published on www.drpa.org. The highlights are offered below for the convenience of customers who are interested:
As stewards of public assets, we provide for the safe and efficient operation of transportation services and facilities in a manner that creates value for the public we serve.
New Signage and Variable Message Systems - The first phase of the passenger information signage project is approximately 95% complete. In addition to installation of LCDs in stations and LEDs on platforms, this project improves communication with all ticket vending machines and fare gates through rewiring at the seven stations included in Phase 1. We have started Phase 2, which will complete the remaining stations not addressed in Phase I.
Safety Awareness Day – PATCO joined with several other transit agencies to promote awareness of safety and security. On April 29, staff greeted customers and distributed Safety Tips brochures to morning commuters.
On-Time Performance – PATCO’s on-time performance in April, 2015 was 98.03%. We are pleased to have exceeded our goal of 98% and to report that our performance has improved each month this year. Our on-time performance so far in 2015 is 97.44%.
We understand the ramifications and inconvenience any delay has on our customers, especially during rush hours. We always try to provide the best level of service possible; however, problems and delays are inevitable. We are continually looking for ways to improve our ability to accurately communicate delay information to our customers so they will know what the problem is and how it will affect their trip.
Other aspects of communication are recognizing expectations and clarifying how our on-time performance is calculated. We strive to deliver our customers to their destinations exactly according to the schedule, but our measure of on-time performance includes several factors:
· Late trips
· Annulments, which are trips that are canceled
· Bypassed stations, which are stations that are by-passed due to trains being taken out of service mid-stream, divided by 13 (the total number of stations)
The sum of these three numbers is then divided by the number of scheduled trips, which gives us a percentage that is subtracted from 1 (100%) to give us the on-time performance.
“On-time” at PATCO generally means arrival at a terminal point (Lindenwold going east; 15th/16th/Locust going west) within 4 minutes 59 seconds.
· APTA (the American Public Transportation Association) defines “late” as a trip in which the train arrives more than 5 minutes later than its scheduled arrival time.
· SEPTA “follows the commuter rail industry standard that a train may arrive up to 5 minutes and 59 seconds after its scheduled time and still be considered on-time.”
· NJ Transit publishes its on-time performance as the percentage of “trains reported within 6 minutes of schedule.”
· Some other definitions of “on time” range from three to eight minutes.
· PATCO redefines “on time” in special circumstances to within 7 minutes 59 seconds when severe weather results in slippery rail conditions that warrant speed restrictions.
Occasionally we must annul a train because we do not have sufficient equipment available. This happens from time to time despite our preventive and around-the-clock responsive maintenance programs. At no time in April did we have to annul a train because of lack of equipment.
Escalators / Elevators – Elevator availability for the month of April was 98.9%. Availability of all escalators was 95.1%, significantly exceeding the 90% goal.
PATCO Cares – PATCO hosted Samaritan Hospice at Woodcrest Station on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Samaritan Hospice representatives were pleased to have interfaced with at least a thousand customers, responding to many questions about Hospice services and volunteer opportunities.
Earth Day – In response to invitations from Haddonfield and Maple Shade, PATCO participated in Earth Day celebrations. Corporate Communications produced an informative flyer about how public transportation helps the environment, and PATCO provided this as well as other information about PATCO and DRPA to residents who attended these events.
Outreach to College Students – PATCO met with numerous Camden County College students, at both the Blackwood and Camden campuses. The College invites PATCO to its spring festivals, giving us the opportunity to promote PATCO’s service to young adults who are potential customers. PATCO offers a discount to students through which students can acquire a PATCO FREEDOM card without having to pay the $5 fee for the card itself.
School Field Trips – With the arrival of spring, teachers venture out of the classroom and onto PATCO. PATCO hosted three classes who were traveling into Center City in April for educational field trips. As approved by the Board, PATCO facilitates the purchase of one-ride tickets for each participant, effectively halving the cost of the students’ round trip. We use this opportunity to ensure that students know how to ride safely and are familiar with our service.