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November 15, 2018

Transit Thursday’s

Featuring:  Things the PTMA does that you might not know we do.

Most of you probably already know that PTMA helps to ease traffic congestion, enhance transportation options, educate and engage the community on the issues of land use, the environment and healthy lifestyles.  But what does that look like? 

Some things we do are partner with SEPTA, PennDOT, and the DVRPC to find suitable transportation solutions.  We also hold a mobility hotline to answer questions residents have on assistance with getting around the community.  This can be setting them up with an application for TransNet, explaining what train or bus routes they need to take to get where they need to go, or helping a wheel chair assisted person find suitable transportation.   We make sure our members are updated on road conditions, traffic congestion, upcoming roadwork and air quality with weekly newsletters.

Here are 3 things the PTMA does that you may not know about:

1.      Travel Training – We go to local high schools and teach children on the Autism Spectrum how to ride SEPTA.  We also do this for Seniors at local Senior Centers. This enhances their wellbeing, keeps them mobile and increases independence.  We go over how to read bus/train schedules, what to remember to bring on their trip and safety precautions.  We do this using fun games like Travel Bingo, cool acronyms like CHECKS (Cash, Hand Sanitizer, Emergency Numbers, Cell Phone, Keys & Schedule) and then at the end for the students we go on an actual field trip on SEPTA to a fun place.  This year we have been to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Pottstown, the Hatboro Dish Diner, Nightlight Dessert Stand in Flourtown & Chic Fil A!  For more information click here http://www.ptma-mc.org/programs/travel-training/ 

 

2.      Bike Share – Ok.  So if you are a member you probably know about this, but for those of you who are not we host 8 FREE Bike Share’s across the county.  All you need to do is sign a waiver at the location, promise to wear a helmet, obey all traffic laws, and present a picture ID. The bikes can be signed out for up to 48 hours at most locations.  They are conveniently located right in the middle of a few towns (like Lansdale and North Wales), or near parks or trails.  You can use them to ride to work if your car is in the shop, just to have fun with the kids on the weekend or to run errands.  For more information click here http://www.ptma-mc.org/programs/free-bike-share-program/

 

3.      Hold Informative & Important Workshops and Events -   We recently held an event called Tap Into Transit in partnership with SEPTA at Round Guys Brewery in Lansdale.  We had cool SEPTA swag, it was in a fun environment, and we got some valuable information from the attendees as to what they used public transportation for and any questions or concerns they had.  We then took this information directly back to SEPTA to make sure Montgomery County’s residents opinions are heard.  Next up is Ready, Set, RETAIN! which is an informative workshop on finding, training, hiring and (most importantly these days) retaining good employees.  To find out more about this event and to register click here http://www.ptma-mc.org/blog-events/events/

 

There are many needs in our community, and transportation is just one of them.  But it is truly a big one.  If you would like any additional information, or, to find out how you can help, please contact me at marketing@ptma-mc.org.  You can also call us at 215-997-9100. 

 

I just realized I forgot one other cool thing we do!  Write an awesome new blog each week, that I am sure our readers are on the edge of their seats waiting for (wink, wink).

 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2018

Transit Thursday’s


Featuring: Choose your hard.  Driving vs. Alternative Transportation

There is a saying in the fitness industry, “Being overweight is hard.  Being fit is hard.  Choose your hard.”  This statement does not just apply to fitness.  It is hard to be on a budget, but being in debt is hard. Consistently discipling your children is hard, but dealing with out of control children is too. You might not necessarily think of this concept when considering your transportation method, but let’s look at the reality.

There are some cons to using alternative transportation.  It can be inconvenient at times if there is a delay for your train, if you carpooled to work and get a call from the school that you need to go and pick up your sick child, or if you walk or bike to work and you need to get up earlier to have the time to do that.  Convenience is a factor for some people.  But let’s take a look at the bigger picture. 

According to TheAtlantic.com, the average commuter is stuck in traffic for 42 hours every year.  If you speak to most people in this area, they find themselves stuck is some type of traffic that delays their commute almost daily. On the flip side, as of September 2018 SEPTA’s on time rate was at 90%.  That means that 90% of all of the trains that SEPTA runs were on time, within about 5 minutes of schedule, 90% of the time.  

Now let’s take a look at cost.  According to The American Public Transportation Association, the average savings for an individual in the Philadelphia area that switches to public transportation instead of using a car, or for a family going down to one car instead of having a two car household, is $12,139 per year.  That is $1,012 a month.  There is a popular saying, from American Author Henry David Thoreau, “The cost of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”  So not only would you be literally saving money by switching to public transportation vs. driving, but the TIME you are spending to work to pay for that extra car, or the hours spent sitting in traffic instead of being at home with your family, all adds up. 

I have mainly focused on using public transportation here, because in the Montgomery County area walking and biking to work isn’t always a feasible option. But for those of you that could do this, you would be saving even more money, and getting in exercise while improving air quality as well.  The health benefits you would receive from getting in all of that cardiovascular activity would more than make up for any additional time you spend on your commute. 

 Carpooling and Vanpooling is becoming an increasingly popular option in this area.  This year the DVRPC released a new carpooling match database called Share-A-Ride.  This is a free, computerized search that can match commuters in Southeastern Pennsylvania with car and vanpool groups.   The cost savings to switching depends on several factors, but one study shows the average commuter can save up to $465 a month! Check out their website for more details, https://www.dvrpc.org/SAR/ or, call us for more info at 215-997-9100.

Oh, and remember that call from the school about your sick child?  Well, when you are enrolled in a registered Car or Vanpool through the DVRPC, they offer the Emergency Ride Home program. This program is a “safety net” that allows you to, in the event of and unexpected personal or family emergency, be reimbursed for the cost you incur by having to take a taxi, Uber, Lyft or rental car home.  The ERH can be used up to 2 times per year and a total of $100 per year.  You can find details here https://www.dvrpc.org/MobilityAlternatives/ERH/.           

Having a car is a convenience for sure.  And in this area, most people have one (or two).  And it may not be realistic to completely get rid of your vehicle.  But can you switch to a one car household?  Can you take public transportation a few times a week instead of driving?  Can you look into the car and vanpool options, to see the savings and convenience?  

Driving a car daily to work is hard.  It is costly, time consuming, creating pollution and traffic and is increasingly frustrating.  Using other forms of transportation can be hard at times, but it can save you money and time while helping the environment and offering a more relaxing way to travel.  But it’s up to you to choose your hard.  So…....

 

By: Tiffany Marrero 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 25, 2018

Transportation Thursday’s

Featuring: Montgomery County Community College Sustainability Initiatives


You have probably heard the term “Sustainability” floating around in the past few years.  In case you were wondering, according to Oxford Dictionary, one definition is “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”  Some ways businesses can work to promote sustainability is through encouraging use of public transportation, offering transportation alternatives, offering electric car charging stations and promoting clean air with no smoking campuses.

Montgomery County Community College is one of our local businesses that is really embracing the culture of sustainability.  I visited the Blue Bell campus this week to check out what they have going on.  First of all, did you know SEPTA has not one, but two bus routes that stop directly at the campus?  This is GREAT news for a lot of students who need viable transportation to be able to achieve a higher learning degree. 

Travelling to the Blue Bell Campus:

SEPTA bus routes 94 travels through Chestnut Hill to Flourtown, Fort Washington, Ambler, Lansdale, and Montgomeryville Mall.  This route connects with SEPTA Routes 23, L, R8 in Chestnut Hill and with Regional Rail R5 service at Fort Washington, Ambler, Pennlyn, and Lansdale stations.  Route 96 travels from Norristown to North Wales, Montgomeryville Mall, Lansdale, Hatfield, Souderton, and Telford.  This route connects with SEPTA routes 91,93,97,98,99,100 and R6 service at the Norristown Transportation Center with Regional Rail R5 service at North Wales and Lansdale stations. 

 

Travelling to the West Campus in Pottstown:

SEPTA bus route 93 and Norristown’s very own Take PART transit system both travel directly to the campus.  For PART schedules, visit http://pottstownarearapidtransit.com/ (also, check out my last week’s blog which was all about this!) or call 610-326-5413 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

For SEPTA schedules visit http://www.septa.org/schedules/ or call 610-279-8400 from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. 

The campus at Blue Bell also offers a separate “Green Lot” parking area near the Advanced Technology Center facing DeKalb Pike.  It is equipped with several charging stations for electric vehicles.  There are also signs all around the No Smoking campus, urging students and visitors to abstain from smoking to promote cleaner air for the community. 

If your company would like to learn more about how to implement some of these initiatives, and others such as Vanpooling and Carpooling for your employees or students, please contact us at marketing@ptma-mc.org, or call 215-997-9100. Air pollution makes us at higher risk for asthma, reproductive system damage, and contributes to birth defects among other things. Sustainability programs help us make our environment a better place for us to live in now, and for our children and grandchildren in the future.  And isn’t that what we all want?

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 16, 2018


Transportation Thursday’s

 

Featuring: Take PART, Pottstown area public transit system

Did you know Pottstown area residents have their very own bus system?  Residents and Borough officials saw a lack of transportation options in the area and decided to do something about it.  Take PART is a publicly owned, privately operated transit system that provides transportation around the area, originating at the Charles W. Dickinson Transportation Center in downtown Pottstown.  SEPTA Route 93 then operates from Pottstown to Norristown to help you travel to other parts of the region. 

 

 

The routes are:
1. The Philadelphia Premium Outlets, via High Street (Day & Night Line)

2. Upland Square, via North End

3. Stowe- Pottstown Center – Coventry Mall (Day & Night Line)

4. East End Loop, via North End

5. South End Loop, via Home Depot (Day & Night Line)

 

According to PART, the Borough’s mission is to provide, “safe, affordable, and       reliable quality transportation service in the Borough of Pottstown and surrounding region.”  Here are some of the highlights:

 

Fares shown are for one-way travel.

Adult

$2.25

Student

$1.10

Including college, must show valid Student ID

Disabled/Medicare Card User

$1.10

Must show valid Half-Fare card*

Seniors

Free

65 years or older, must show valid Transit ID or Medicare Card**

Transfer

$0.75

Paratransit

$4.50

Each Additional Child Under Fare Box Height

$0.25

Two Children under fare box height can ride free with one full-fare paying adult. Each additional child under fare box height is $0.25

 

*To qualify for the half-fare rate, disabled riders must present a valid Pennsylvania Reduced-Fare Transit ID Card. For information on obtaining a Card, stop by Pottstown Borough Hall, 100 E. High Street, 3rd floor, 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekdays or call 610-970-6512.

**To be eligible for the Pennsylvania Senior Citizen Free Transit Program, senior citizens must register with PART staff to obtain a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ID Card by bringing approved proof of age to PART’s office. An application will be completed and the ID Card issued. For more information, stop by Pottstown Borough Hall, 100 E. High Street, 3rd floor, 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekdays or call 610-970-6512.

 Take PART also offers paratransit for persons with disabilities who cannot use the public bus.  This can include curb to curb, or door to door service.  All you need to do is fill out an application online, or, call 610-326-5413 and they can mail you an application. 

 

You can download the application here http://pottstownarearapidtransit.com/downloads/PART_ParatransitApplication.pdf

 

You may be approved conditionally or unconditionally, and after that all you need to do is call and give at least 24 hours notice of your appointment time to schedule a ride. The appointment destination must be within ¾ mile of the regular bus routes.  The cost is $4.50 each way.*

 

*Please note that this is NOT a medical transportation bus, so, if you need medical assistance to travel please bring a personal care assistant. 

 

The Partnership TMA wants to make sure you are all informed of the various transportation options available to you. For more information on the Pottstown Take PART system, you can call 610-326-5413 or visit www.pottstownarearapidtransit.com.  We also want to know what YOU would like to see improved in transportation in our area.  If you want your voice to be heard, come join us at “Tap Into Transit” on Thursday, October 25 from 5pm to 7pm at Round Guys Brewery in Lansdale.  It is a FREE event, with FREE SEPTA giveaways, all we ask is that you register with us at marketing@ptma-mc.org, or , by calling 215-997-9100.  Drink specials and appetizers will be available for purchase.  You can ask questions or voice your opinion on things like roadways, SEPTA Key, SEPTA service and transportation improvements.

 

See you next time, on the roads!

 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 10, 2018

Transportation Thursday’s

Featuring: Montco Trail Challenge

 For any of you who read our blog, you know that we did a really fun segment through the Spring/Summer called Trail Tuesday’s.  I visited a new trail in Montgomery County each week and told you all about it.  Well, I just found out that the Montgomery County Planning Commission has been hosting a Montco Trail Challenge the whole time!  I guess we are #twinsies.  Anyway, I thought you would want to hear about it!
It runs from May 5- December 2, and it is a fun way to get out and get moving!  I know I am telling you about this after the summer is long gone, however, fall is an excellent time to be going out to the trails for a nice hike!  Plus, it must be asked, is summer actually over?  I mean, it’s 82 degrees right now.  I think it might be the Universe’s way of telling you to get some friends together and hit the trails people!
The challenge is this. 
See how many trails you can visit by December 2.  Register online at www.montcopa.org/trailchallenge, or pick up a trail challenge card at any of these locations. Green Lane Park, Lorimer Park, Norristown Farm Park, Central Perkiomen, and Lower Perkiomen Valley Park also has drop boxes where you can submit your cards to receive your recognitions. 
Plan your visit. 
Record the unique symbol located at each trail. 
Return your card or submit online.
 
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      That’s it!

       There are Achievement Levels for bragging rights at the end: Explore=5 Trails, Adventurer = 10 trails, and Trailblazer = 15 trails.  Here is what is new this year:


      Register and walk with your dog!

      After receiving pictures and stories of dogs participating in the Montco Trail Challenge, this year’s Challenge officially has dog registration available. Your furry friend will receive a Get Out and Go bandana for their participation!

      Larger, more colorful trail symbols


      New trail markers will be found at each major trail head. The symbols are six inch, white PVC squares with a colorful animal shape in the center. 

      Explore the Schuylkill River Tow Path!


      The Schuylkill River Tow Path offers beautiful views of the canal, river and wildflowers over the course of its 2.3 miles of stabilized dirt, gravel, and asphalt trail. The Tow Path can be accessed by the Schuylkill River Trail at Upper Schuylkill Valley Park and the Lock 60 Schuylkill Canal Park.

      CHALLENGE YOUR FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS, AND OTHERS


      Last year more than 1,500 people participated in the Trail Challenge. Think about ways you can engage local hiking groups, scout troops, and co-workers!

      TRACK YOUR PROGRESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA


      Use social media to post your pictures, recognitions, and encourage your friends to participate. The county's Twitter feed and Facebook page will be looking to share your accomplishments. Use the hashtag #MontcoTrailChallenge when you post!

      Here are the trails you can visit:

      202

      Audubon Loop

      Chester Valley

      Cynwyd Heritage

      Green Lane Park System

      Norristown Farm Park System

      Pennypack

      Perkiomen

      Powerline

      Schuylkill River

      Schuylkill River Tow Path

      Skippack

      Wissahickon Green Ribbon

      I am a little bummed because I think I visited at least a few of these trails, but I didn’t know about the challenge so I didn’t record the symbols!  You win some, you lose some.   And it’s a shame, because there are few things I love more in life than a challenge.

      For more info don’t forget to check out www.montcopa.org/trailchallenge.  And if you do the challenge, email me and let me know!  marketing@ptma-mc.org

       

      By: Tiffany Marrero

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      September 27, 2018

      Transit Thursday’s

      Featuring: Staying Safe on SEPTA


      I don’t think I will soon forget where I was when I saw the news article flash on my screen.  I was sitting in my room, with my children who are 15 and 11, just one room over playing a video game together.  I had just taken a ride on SEPTA for a blog article, and I was looking forward to hopping on the train again soon with the kids to take them ice skating down at Blue Cross River Rink this winter.  Then I saw it.  “ Boy, 7 killed on SEPTA tracks in Philadelphia”.  My heart stopped.  Something like this should never happen. 

      Every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train.  I am not telling you this to scare you.  I am telling you this to inform you.  Some things are out of our control.  Like the hurricane we just saw tear through the Carolinas.  However, people were advised to take certain precautions to keep them out of harm’s way.  And the same goes for our safety while on any type of transportation.  There are things we can do to keep ourselves and our children safe. 

      Here are some tips from SEPTA to keep in mind while riding public transportation:

      1.      ALWAYS hold onto your children’s hand when waiting for transit services.

      2.      Don’t let your children wander- transit areas are busy places.

      3.      If you’re standing while you ride, HOLD ON TIGHT to the poles or seat rails.

      4.      Watch your step closely and make sure you have a firm footing when getting on or off.

      5.      Read posted emergency evacuation instructions so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency.  STAY ALERT for instructions from the Conductor or authorized personnel.

      6.      Stay BEHIND the yellow line on the station platform, until the train has come to a complete stop.

      7.      Be alert for Express trains- don’t assume every train is stopping at your station.

      8.      ALWAYS be aware of the gap between the train and station platform.

      9.      DON’T pass between the cars when the train is moving- WAIT until you arrive at the station and use the platform to switch cars. 

      10.   DON’T lean against the doors.

      11.   NEVER cross the tracks.  ALWAYS use the dedicated overpass or underpass to safely cross to the other side of the station.

      12.   Walking along the track right-of-way or crossing the tracks is TRESPASSING.  It can prove to be a FATAL mistake.

      13.   NEVER attempt to board or exit a moving train -avoid the risk of serious injury and WAIT for the next train. 

      14.   DON’T hold the doors open and always make certain your bags and clothing are clear of closing doors. 

      Riding the train or the bus is supposed to be a fun and safe way to travel, and it is.  But just like with everything in life, we need to be alert to the dangers involved and committed to practicing safe travel tips to keep ourselves, our children and those around us out of harm’s way.  If you think your school could benefit from Travel Training and Safety classes, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

       

       

       

       

      By: Tiffany Marrero

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       


       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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