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SEPTA is 'The Best of the Best'

Andrew Busch
SEPTA Press Officer

"The best of the best."

That's how the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) described SEPTA, in naming the Authority the 2012 "Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award."

APTA, which has over 1,500 member organizations, named SEPTA this year's winner in the category that includes dozens of North America's largest transit operators.

"This is a very competitive award, and is particularly meaningful since SEPTA was selected by an awards committee made up of general managers and public transportation leaders in North America," said Michael Melaniphy, APTA's President and CEO. "SEPTA and its many accomplishments and achievements are models for the rest of the public transit industry."

Melaniphy visited SEPTA headquarters on Thursday, July 26, 2012, to announce the award during the monthly meeting of the SEPTA Board.

Prior to the announcement, he met with SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey, and was given a tour of SEPTA's Control Center.

Melaniphy said he was impressed at SEPTA's operation, which includes dispatchers for all modes of transportation and SEPTA Transit Police in one location.

"This is amazing," Melaniphy said as he was shown around SEPTA's control room, often referred to as the Authority's "nerve center."

APTA looks at a number of factors in the award process. Winners must display overall effectiveness in a number of key areas, including budgeting and efficiency of operations, customer service.

SEPTA's case was also furthered by a number of initiatives taken on in recent years that have positioned the Authority as an industry leader. For example, SEPTA's Sustainability Program is leading the way in efforts to both make transit more environmentally friendly and cost effective.

Melaniphy also noted SEPTA's efforts to improve service through a series of customer-focused initiatives, such as online service alerts.

"Customer service is important to SEPTA employees who know that the key is a partnership with the public," Melaniphy said. "Communicating with customers through real-time information tools and social media informs customers on a variety of SEPTA topics."

SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey said the APTA honor would not have been possible without the hard word of SEPTA's dedicated employees.

"We are thrilled to receive this award, and honored that our peers in the transit agency have singled out SEPTA's achievements for recognition," Casey said. "I am so proud of the members of the SEPTA team, who are committed to serving our customers, and fulfilling our mission to improve the environment, facilitate economic growth, and sustain the quality of life in our region. This recognition is a testament to their dedication, enthusiasm, and innovative spirit."

APTA will formally present SEPTA with the award during a convention this fall. SEPTA will also celebrate the award with both riders and workers, with customer and employee appreciation events. SEPTA will also announce the award with banners and posters that will displayed at stations areas.

SEPTA Chief Control Center Officer Ron Hopkins (left) and General Manager Joseph M.Casey show APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy (center) how SEPTA officials can monitor service from the command center.

Melaniphy addresses the SEPTA Board and Authority employees on July 26, 2012.

From left: Melaniphy; Deputy Philadelphia Mayor and SEPTA Board Member Rina Cutler; SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon, Sr.; Casey.

Employees applaud after it is announced that APTA has selected SEPTA for the 2012 "Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award".

Hopkins, Melaniphy and Casey in the Control Center.