Archive for the ‘Transportation’ 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”.

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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?

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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?

Morning bike rant

Here we go! I got the beep today, while riding my bike to work. It wasn’t much, but is enough to set me off.

Yes, I was in the middle of the road. Yes, I am there so that drivers of motorized vehicles and non-motorized vehicles see me. No, I am not putting myself there to be an obstacle to you, rude car driver. I am following the rules and getting to work, just as you are. I’m trying to do it safely. Buzz off. Look out for other drivers. There are thousands of bikers in Philly! I wish I had statistics on them.

Last week, my friend with a beautiful smile was “doored.” She was wearing her helmet, as all bikers should be, and still suffered a concussion, and has a nasty scab on her chin and up the front of her face. She is lucky that it wasn’t worse. I’m so glad her teeth weren’t ruined! Perhaps the driver should have looked before opening the door. Shouldn’t he have been looking, in case a car was coming his way? What if it had been a car?

This is just my little plea for drivers in Philly to watch out for the bikers (and pedestrians, for that matter). I know, I know – it works both ways. Bikers – wear helmets. Follow the rules. Get off the sidewalks! Go the correct way on a one-way street. Make drivers aware that you are on the road, too. Here are some links: for prescribed “safer” routes in the city and the Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual.

In a city that is trying to start a bike-share program, don’t you think we should make it safer for bikers? (I’m talking to you, city government and law enforcement officers!) On top of that, I recently heard that Philadelphia is number one for bike thefts. Let’s change this! My friend who just returned from Japan said that there is so much respect there, you don’t even have to lock your bike. How about implementing this?

Greenies

Some people say they’ve got the blues. I’ve got the greens. No only have I realized that I look good in bright green lately, but I’ve also noticed that Philadelphia and this country is finally realizing, hopefully not too late, that we need to go “green.” This is a bandwagon I am happy to jump on. There are so many ways you can reduce your negative environmental impact. As I’m watching “Today,” which is showing me numerous ways you can go green, I get a message from a friend about LocalHarvest, an organization who is educating the masses on how you can learn about and buy locally grown food products. (The Ethicurean is also good!) I started with a lightbulb change (incandescent to compace flourescent). Now I try as hard as possible not to use plastic bags. I’m currently using a tote bag, a granny cart (I’ll be pimping this soon), and reusing bags I already have.

Selling my car was a big decision, but how often did I really need it? If you live and work in the city, why not join Philly CarShare? This May, they’ll be sponsoring a challenge for you Philadelphia drivers to find alternative ways to get around. You can win a bike! (Please don’t ride it on the sidewalk)!

I was out of town after the Philly Spring Clean-up, but have found the results of the largest United States cleaning day in history. This Nutter’s on to something! All major goals were surpassed. Look out for future clean-ups. Here’s a beautifying event, sponsored by Greater Philadelphia Cares.

One final note: Keep your eyes peeled for GreenFest Philly, held on South Street. I haven’t been able to find the date of the event yet, but check back for updates! (September-ish)

Sex on the El

No Sexual Activity

I’ve never ever witnessed couples getting it on while traveling on the train, but apparently someone has! I spotted this addition to one of SEPTA’s standard signs.

I only had my phone with me, so apologizes for the quality; if you can’t make out the graffiti, it reads: no sexual activity.

Perhaps with Valentine’s Day next week, some lovely El rider decided to be a bit pro-active and warn would-be lovers now, before they get the urge.

How about it? What’s the craziest randy thing you’ve witnessed—or even been part of—on any service of SEPTA?

Critical Mass Philadelphia

I ride my bike to work sometimes. Other than my legs, my bike is my main source of transportation, as it is for many other Philadelphians. There are many problems that plague bicycle riders in the city, too, and for this reason, and the fact that this is a free country, there is a glory of a thing called Critical Mass. I only recently heard of it, but I’m psyched that there is one this Friday, with a Halloween theme!

Critical Mass is described as:

…an unorganized coincidence that happens in cities around the world on the last Friday of every month. It is a ride through the city to celebrate and remind everyone about the use of the bicycle as an effective means of transportation.

We’ll be riding at 6 on Friday. Meet on the west side of City Hall. Wear a costume!

US Scareways: Worse than you thought.

For me, one of the major drawback to living in Philadelphia is the airport, a major hub for the worst airline in the country, US Airways. Or, as my very well travelled friend calls them: US Scareways. Everyone I know who has flown with them has had a miserable experience. My fiancé and I were once forced to fly them back from Florida, and gained some lovely firsthand knowledge. The plane was old, shabby and improperly pressurized. I don’t recall any in-flight service, although I’m sure we must have at least gotten soda or water. A pilot and a flight attendant along for the ride sat behind us blasting a dvd for the entire cabin to hear. Thank goodness it was a short flight.

We refuse to fly them again. Last year we returned to my home airport to fly out of Newark on Continental. There were some takeoff delays but the prices were excellent, service good and they gave us full meals included. For trans-atlantic, once again, we wouldn’t even consider US Airways and ended up flying out of JFK for a much cheaper fare on British Airways than available from PHL.
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PATCO Freedom, a ticket system that doesn’t suck

PATCO ticket front

PATCO ticket back

PATCO, the people who bring us the wonderful speedline over the Ben Franklin Bridge, have a new ticket system! This past Monday was just my third time riding PATCO with the new system, but I’d finally thought to snap a photo with my camera phone before the turnstile ate my ticket.

PATCO Freedom is the new system of smart cards and paper tickets, and yes, it is so much easier than trying to figure out if I have enough coins to use the “exact change only” old magnetic card system. I haven’t used the smart card yet, which appears to be pretty awesome. Just load up a balance from your credit or debit card, hold up your card at the gate and ride anywhere at anytime, as the fare for that ride is deducted from your card. The smart cards can be used for PATCO station parking as well as train rides. Nifty!

Pictured here is the new paper ticket, which has a date stamp and expires after three days, so don’t buy these in advance! Every time I’ve used the vending machine so far it asks for cash, not a credit card, for payment, but I don’t think that is always the case.

This system seems to have been in place for about a year now, which just shows you how often I ride PATCO. I should ride more often! There are some neat and interesting places along several PATCO stops, like the Pop Shop in Collingswood, which I wrote about Monday.

How Safe are the Bridges in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania?

With the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota many Pennsylvanians have been asking, ‘How safe are our bridges?’ One could infer since many of our bridges are generally going to be older, they may be in need of further inspection and repair than we previously thought.

Thank goodness we have PennDOT, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, looking out after our interests. Our tax dollars already pay for this state run authority and each day they are out and about checking bridges and roads so we won’t have happen to us what happened in Minnesota.

PennDOT was recently asked how we were doing? Were there any bridges or structures with which we need to be concerned? PennDOT thought if they released any information it could cause un-do concern!

Oh! Crap! We must be in trouble. PennDOT won’t tell us how we are doing even though we pay the bills.
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