Transit Briefs: Amtrak, NJ Transit, SEPTA, Brightline

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
(Image: Brightline)

(Image: Brightline)

Amtrak Northeast Corridor (NEC) trains transition to fixed forward and backward seating. Also, Gov. Phil Murphy’s $55.9 billion budget includes a plan for NJ Transit by taxing businesses; the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Transit Police Department upgrades to CODY Systems’ cloud-based Public Safety Suite; and Brightline ranks No. 59 on Inc. Magazine’s list of the Southeast region’s fastest-growing private companies.


As of March 2, 2024, all NEC trains are transitioning to permanent fixed forward and backward seating, including all Northeast Regional service and select routes on the East Coast (the Carolinian, Empire Service, Vermonter and Amtrak Virginia), Amtrak recently announced.

This arrangement, Amtrak says, “enhances services for customers on the NEC with more frequencies by reducing the time required in between trips.”

NJ Transit

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is “biting a political bullet to raise business taxes on the state’s largest companies in order to find hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fund its beleaguered mass transit system,” according to a Politico report.

According to the report, the new tax, called the Corporate Transit Fee, is not the only tax increase in the $55.9 billion budget outlined by Murphy on Feb. 27, “but it is by far the largest and likely most politically divisive.”

The new 2.5% tax on some 600 businesses making more than $10 million a year in profit will be “one of the most significant moves by the second-term Democrat and perhaps one of his last major accomplishments before he leaves office in early 2026,” according to the Politico report.

“Yet, if some semblance of the transit tax makes it into the final budget, which must be approved by July 1, Murphy will have plugged NJ Transit’s looming budget gap and given the agency its first ever source of dependable state funding. His proposal to create a stable funding source has been a longtime goal of transit advocates, but the governor, to their frustration, had seemed uninterested in tackling the problems. The budget proposal is a surprising reversal,” according to the Politico report.

The transit fee, Politico reports, is, by far, the biggest news in Murphy’s proposed budget, which includes a $6.1 billion surplus, a figure that includes the transit fee money collected this year.


The SEPTA Transit Department on Feb. 27 announced “a significant advancement to public safety” through the implementation of CODY Systems’ cloud-based Public Safety Suite and by its participation in the statewide data-sharing network.

CODY 2024

According to CODY Systems, the total solution for SEPTA Police includes a cloud-based, Pennsylvania/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) compliant Records Management System (RMS), Case Management (CMS) and Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), as well as a real-time link to the PA SuperCOBRA Police Date-sharing network, a statewide initiative that “facilitates the real-time exchange of crucial information among law enforcement agencies.”

“The adoption of CODY Systems’ Public Safety Suite and our participation in the statewide data-sharing effort illustrate our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our passengers, our transit officers, and the communities we serve,” said SEPTA Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson. “The CAD system specifically brings a new level of responsiveness and enables us to handle emergency situations with increased agility. The system optimizes dispatch workflows, ensuring that resources are deployed promptly and effectively, and is seamlessly integrated with our RMS, further enhancing our entire operational process—from initial call through final disposition.”

In addition to the RMS and CAD upgrades, SEPTA Transit Police is now sharing vital police reports and records data with more than 350 Penn.-based law enforcement agencies through the PA SuperCOBRA Police Data-sharing Network, including police across the Philadelphia metro region.

“By joining the SuperCOBRA Network, we are collaborating with our law enforcement partners like we never have before,” Lawson said. “In one quick search, a transit officer stationed anywhere on the system can see a full work-up of a person and their criminal activity across most of the Commonwealth. This provides unparalleled data awareness for our officers.”

CODY Systems, a Penn.-based, woman-owned company is a “nationwide leader in public safety software solutions, offering technology solutions focused on streamlining law enforcement operations, including ease of data entry, detailed investigative analysis, and myriad reporting options, including streamlined validation and submission of Pennsylvania and Federal NIBRS.”

“Armed with the tools they need to respond swiftly and effectively to incidents and the data-awareness that the SuperCOBRA link provides, we look forward to seeing how this collaboration contributes to the broader mission of better visibility into criminal activity across the Commonwealth,” Lawson said.


Brightline announced Feb. 27 that it has been ranked No. 59 on Inc. magazine’s fourth annual Inc. 5000 Regionals: Southeast list, a ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Born out of the annual Inc. 5000 franchise, this regional list “represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the Southeast economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.”

The companies on this list, Inc. magazine says, “show a remarkable rate of growth across all industries in the Southeast region.” Between 2020 and 2022, these 223 private companies had an average growth rate of 166.43%; by 2023, they’d also added 20,496 jobs and $8.8 billion to the region’s economy.

“Brightline’s launch to Orlando represents a historic milestone that is shifting perceptions of what it means to travel by train in America,” said Brightline CEO Michael Reininger. “We’re proud of what we’ve built in Florida and see Brightline West as the nation’s blueprint for how to build high-speed rail and connect city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000 Regionals: Southeast, including company profiles, can be found here.

“The honorees in our Inc. 5000 network are the Who’s Who of private companies. They’re energizing regional economies as they engineer the future of their industries. Learn who they are and what they do—they’ll be impacting things for a while,” said Eric Hagerman, Special Projects Editor at Inc. Media.

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