Public Transit in Philadelphia: On the Rise

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Offering an assortment of trains, buses, trolleys, and shuttles, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) seems to really have it together. Just this month, Philadelphia Magazine reported a four percent increase in ridership on regional rail trains this year and a fifty percent increase since fifteen years ago. Additionally, this summer, SEPTA decided to extend rider’s hours on the weekend service—now making subway service available 24/7 Friday-Sunday. Riders speculate this may eventually lead to 24/7 service 7 days a week.

Safety Benefits of Public Transportation

Public transportation is not only inexpensive and convenient, but it is safer than most other modes of transportation. Transportation-related deaths account for less than two percent of fatalities each year, and buses, subways, and trains have particularly low death rates. Not surprisingly, auto accidents make up the vast majority of transportation-related accidents in the United States.

From a legal perspective, the SEPTA has certain obligations to its riders. This includes everything from keeping the train/subway tracks under reasonably safe conditions, to making sure the stairs and escalators are in working and walkable shape. No public transportation service is perfect, but SEPTA boasts a thorough safety and security department to help improve riders’ experiences. Few accidents occur under SEPTA’s watch, particularly considering the thousands of people SEPTA services transport daily.

Sadly, over half of the accidents reported by SEPTA and other similar transportation systems nationwide involve suicides. Even including these deaths in overall death counts, the death rate of riding on a bus, train, or subway is significantly smaller than driving in a car. Even more reassuring is the fact that over a quarter of public transportation accidents involve the employees, such as drivers, security officers, and other personnel. The other seventy-five percent of accidents overwhelmingly occur due to rider misconduct. Frequently, accidents occur when people are not watching for oncoming traffic at bus stops, fail to use hand rails and straps, or fail to abide by conductor/driver instructions. These simple safety tips can help save your life in the event a driver has to slam on his brakes or an emergency suddenly occurs.

Many accidents occur because people are frustrated or in a hurry due to delays. An estimated fifteen percent of rail cars are out of service daily in the greater Philadelphia area alone, which can create tension and people rushing to find other ways to get to work. These situations create high-stress environments where people are walking too quickly, checking their phones instead of watching for others/oncoming traffic, and therefore contributing significantly to public transportation-related accidents.

SEPTA Accident Attorneys

No matter how careful you are or how great a system runs, there will inevitably be accidents. Crashes involving buses, trains, and subways can be particularly catastrophic given their speed, size, and limited sight distance. If you or someone you know has been involved in a bus or any other type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your financial losses. A successful lawsuit may cover your medical expenses, wage loss expenses, and pain and suffering. Transportation drivers, vehicles, and facilities must run at high standards and anything less may have contributed to your injury. At Solnick & Associates, LLC, our experienced Jenkintown-based personal injury attorneys are well-versed in SEPTA-related accidents and can help you obtain the results you are entitled to. We will provide free consultations and talk to you about your potential case—please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Photo Credit: K_Gradinger via Compfight cc

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