[PHI] NBC10 First Alert Severe Weather Central

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Brutal Winter Taking a Toll on SEPTA

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    The heavy snow this winter and the bitter cold temperatures are causing a mess in parking lots across the region. Drivers aren’t the only ones dealing with this problem however.

    A spokesman tells NBC10 that SEPTA has had to hire snow removal companies to help get rid of all the snow piling up in the parking lots of their regional rail stations.

    “This weekend we’re taking the snow out of the lots and disposing it elsewhere,” said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch. “It’s not going away.”

    Busch says the removals are taking place at regional rail stations across the area.

    “The plan is to keep on working on that at least through tomorrow,” Busch said. “Maybe through Monday if necessary.”

    As for where the removed snow will go, Busch says it varies.

    “There’s a mix of locations where this goes through,” he said. “Some of this is being done by third party contractors, snow removal companies. They have their own methods of disposing it. Some of it can be taken to SEPTA storage yards if they need to.”

    According to Busch, it’s been awhile since SEPTA has had to remove so much snow.

    “We haven’t really had conditions quite like this,” Busch said. “Winters over the past few years have been pretty mild.”

    The removal efforts are also taking a financial toll on SEPTA. Busch says the total cost of storm-related labor for the company since December is approximately $7.9 million. And that was before the most recent Nor’easter, which they haven’t calculated yet. To put that in perspective, Busch says the average winter normally costs SEPTA about 4 to 5 million.

    The high cost this year includes in-house labor, materials such as salt, repairs and paying third party contractors.

    “We’re definitely a little over budget on our snow related costs,” Busch said. “Our ridership is also significantly less because of the recent weather so we’re bringing in less revenue on this.”

    Busch insists the financial impact is only short-term however and expects things to go back to normal once the weather improves.

    “Our ridership has been steadily going up the last 6 or 7 years,’ Busch said. “Before the storm it was trending upward. When the weather clears up it’s going up to normal levels. Once people resume their normal routines we’ll continue to see good numbers and our revenues will go back to normal.”