Archive for the ‘Septa’ Category

Day Pass Shenanigans

I really like the SEPTA One Day Convenience Pass, or as us public transit folks call it, a “day pass”.

You pay $6 and get to use it on the bus, subways, trolleys, and the El up to 8 times in one day. So, if you’re takin’ the bus, then the train, then the El, then the bus again to your destination and the bus, the El, the train, and the bus (third base!), it’s pretty damn useful. Really awesome if you wanna see the historical sights of the greatest City in the land and save some gas money/parking stress.

Just watch out for inept SEPTA ticket window people or the “One Day Convenience Pass” will become the “Half Hour Pain In The Ass”.


Expand The R2 Schedule, The Magic Voice, & Other SEPTA Musings

Oh, SEPTA. How I missed thee. Sure, people here may complain but – come on – could it get any better than riding a bus or a train or a subway and actually see OTHER people riding it, too?


Easy-to-use SEPTA

Broad and Walnut

Have you seen the new SEPTA signs? I noticed this a few weeks ago; the signs in the photo here are located at Broad and Walnut Streets (the first one I spotted) but there are also posted at 13th & Market, 15th & Market, 18th & JFK, 19th & Market, and 15th & Locust.

The first thing I thought when I saw the sign was “T? Like in Boston?” but the lines of the T do look a bit like rail lines, so I guess it’s an interesting design choice.

What I like more than the huge posts are the signs on the stairwells, explaining the lines and connections that can be made at the station, and the exit orientation signs, giving directions and street intersections. Have you ever come up from the subway feeling disoriented? Well, maybe not if you’ve been riding for years, but occasional riders and tourists probably don’t know which is the northeast corner of Broad and Walnut just standing around in the concourse.

If you’ve seen the signs and have any comments about them, there is a survey for SEPTA and PATCO users to submit.

Do you think these signs will be useful? What would you do differently, or do you think the city’s had a good idea with these?

Wanna know where the buses run?

Most people that commute on SEPTA—even if they like the service, even if they defend SEPTA every step of the way—know that its website is a joke. It’s bulky to navigate, the schedules are hard to read, and advisories are sometimes out-of-date. Oh and forget about maps!

Many other transit agencies have been sending their information to Google to participate in the Google Transit site, but SEPTA is not one of them. Also, while other transit websites are upgrading their online experiences swith interactive maps (like the MBTA in Boston, oh what a website!), we get stuck with the Trip Planner. Seriously, have you ever tried to use that thing?

Based on the awesomeness that is the NYC Subways Map, for the past year or so I’ve been working on my own version of a SEPTA transit map between my full-time and freelance jobs; however, it’s mostly been just a programming lesson in using the Google maps API with PHP and Javascript. I’ve got the BSL, MFL, and the Patco Speedline, but I haven’t even finished all the regional rail routes yet!

But the other day I ran across’s Transit Maps! Not only does it have everything I’ve been working on, it also has bus routes. Yes, bus routes. All bus routes. On a Google map.

It’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a while. I almost cried.

Commuting around Kids

For various reasons, I’ve been having a tough time sleeping lately. During the work week I feel I’m at a constant deficit and hence make up the time snoozing on the train. One day last week I was settling in for my nap when a mom with two young children boarded. I unabashedly snatched my trailpass, bag and made haste to the next car. Sure enough, within two minutes of sitting down the high-pitched child ruckus began. Fortunately, I could barely hear it safely ensconced in my new nap spot.

I understand the rails are public and anyone is allowed to ride them. I’m not going to complain about parents bringing children on the train. Sometimes they are charming and fun. More often they are cranky, screaming, arguing and crying. I’ve seen kids yank on the hair of passengers in front of them, grab tickets and passes and not once did their parents reprimand them.

Septa raises token prices on Monday

Whoa! Did you hear? It seems that Septa is raising the prices of tokens effective Monday. I had heard rumors that this was going to happen, but it seems like the sort of thing that should take longer to go into effect. Tokens are my fare paying method of choice, so it seems that I’m going to need to get myself over to a vending machine sometime before Monday to get a few more tokens in at the old price.

Truck vs. Septa


A friend and I were standing at the NW corner of 19th and Chestnut today just before 11 am, waiting for the light to change so that we could cross Chestnut Street, when we realized that traffic wasn’t actually moving. As we crossed, we realized why traffic was at a standstill. A large panel truck had tried to squeeze through the space between a paused Septa bus and a parked delivery van and hadn’t made it. The bus had gouged a hole in the side of the truck and had stopped, unable to continue to drive forward or move backwards. We didn’t wait around to see how the situation resolved, but an hour later when we passed by again, the bus and the truck were gone, so it had sorted itself out somehow.

Parkway Emergency Drill, Fairmount, Art Museum, Alert

What if there was an emergency on or around the Parkway while an event was happening? Amost every weekend something is going on in and around the Parkway, Art Museum, or Drives. The city in an attempt to be prepared is having an emergency drill tonight.

This Monday night drill will impact driving, Septa lines, and give you cause to wonder, “What’s going on?”

The following is from the READY PHILADELPHIA site about tonights exercise.

Road Closures and Detours
Road closures and detours will be in effect from approximately 6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. The Police Department will barricade these locations:

Fairmount Avenue and Kelly Drive (inbound only)
Traffic will be detoured onto Fairmount Avenue. Right onto Pennsylvania to 21st Street, right onto 21st Street back to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

25th Street and Kelly Drive (inbound)
No traffic permitted into Eakins Oval.

25th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Access to the Art Museum and Spring Garden Street Bridge will be through the Spring Garden Street Tunnel ONLY.

Spring Garden Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Spring Garden Street traffic will access the tunnel for travel to West Philadelphia.

Eakins Oval at the outbound Kelly Drive entrance
No traffic permitted into Eakins Oval. This closure will allow outbound Parkway traffic to go north onto Kelly Drive.

Monday, August 6, 2007
Road Closures:
6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Exercise: 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Eakins Oval, Benjamin Franklin Parkway

This is only a drill – there is no impending threat to the citizens of Philadelphia or the region.

During this exercise, residents should expect to see a large number of Fire and Emergency Medical vehicles, as well as private ambulances, responding to Eakins Oval, Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Residents should understand that there is no actual emergency.

SEPTA Roundup

Yee-haw, it’s a SEPTA roundup.

First, scariness at 30th Street Station yesterday, right around rush hour. My train was already late, then looked like it was going to a different track. Myself and my fellow R8ers milled between tracks 3 and 4 and then *SNAP*! The overhead cables on track 3 made a horrifying noise, followed by wobbling, clanging and general unease among passengers.

We boarded very late, and sat for a while. Conductors’ radios were abuzz with indiscernible but emergency-sounding chatter. Then our train moved extremely slowly out of the station. On the way out we passed the R7 Trenton Express train, and it didn’t look good. It barely made it out of the station and was sitting at a very odd angle.

Transit and Tasties

I am not happy about the SEPTA increase. I already pay far too much for my Zone 2 pass. I would love to know exactly how they ended up in a hole this deep and why no one is holding them accountable for trimming fat off the top instead of screwing customers harder. With their budget deficit you’d expect their corporate offices to be a few cubicles with a single buzzing, flickering light bulb in a cheap rent district. I have a feeling things at 1234 Market Street are quite cozy. Have they slashed their management? Have the top tiers taken pay cuts? Why the heck did they open a transit museum instead of saving money? I’m baffled. They need to get an Office Space style consulting firm in there to slash and burn.

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