SEPTA on cable show

PHILADELPHIA. For Ron Hopkins, coordinating repair work on SEPTA’s Regional Rail system while maintaining service for thousands of riders is a routine task, but also a thankless one.

That job and several other challenging, behind-the-scene roles at SEPTA will be the focus of a National Geographic show entitled “World’s Toughest Fixes,” set to air June 10. The one-hour episode follows SEPTA workers in maintenance shops, subway tunnels and the money train, displaying what it takes to keep the nation’s sixth-largest transit agency running.

“I think a lot of people are quite surprised about the tech that septa does have to manage its train and bus service,” said Hopkins, who’s in control of SEPTA’s control center.

After being spurned by other transit agencies for legal concerns, labor issues or other reasons, producers turned to SEPTA, which welcomed the exposure.

It’s not the first time the reality television spotlight has landed on the city. A&E’s Parking Wars is back for its third season and the same network also filmed actor Tony Danza teaching at Northeast High School for a show on education. Unlike Parking Wars, officials said “World’s Toughest Fixes” shows the city in a positive light.

“It should be a great benefit for us,” SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said.

SEPTA did not receive any money for the filming, Maloney said, but the agency figures thw worth of the exposure at about $250,000 from what amounts to essentially free marketing.

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