Archive for the ‘Septa’ Category

New Year, New Job

Yes! It’s finally happened! After working out in the far-off lands of Bucks County for over two years, my dream to once again work in the city has been realized.

Living in the city and working in the suburbs can be very hectic indeed, especially when one must drive to work (see also my SEPTA Biking posts, part 1 and part 2) and no other options at the time seem feasible. Now it will be a matter of: walk or bus?

This also leads to more checkmarks in the “pro” column of my de-car dilemma spreadsheet, so the adventures of getting rid of my car will once again continue!

SEPTA: Limping Along

Tonight, Matt and I went down to Old City to see Headlong for First Friday, using the subway to cover the main distance between home and the show.

We meant to take SEPTA home, too, but as we were pulling out of the 5th St. station, the driver’s voice came over the intercom:

“I’m having some trouble with the train, but I’ll do my best to get us to 69th St.”

The train lurched and sputtered and I have never had a three lock ride feel quite as epically long as the distance traversed tonight between 5th and 8th Streets. Where we got off to catch a cab, because I lean towards claustrophobia and no way in HELL am I getting myself stuck underground on a busted subway train.

Don’t Forget to Vote

Yesterday afternoon I was walking east on Walnut Street when I spotted a #12 bus heading west. The screen on the front of the bus said all the normal things, identifying which bus line it was and where it was going. But then it flashed to another message. It said, “Don’t Forget to Vote.” With less than two weeks until election day, that driver was providing an excellent public service. I would have given anything to have had a camera handy in that moment to capture that reminder. If anyone spots that bus, let us know!

SEPTA Biking, Part 2

It’s been a while since I wrote Part 1 of my adventures in attempting to de-car, and it’s been a long journey. Long as in: I still own a car. It’s ridiculous that I still owe more on my car than the blue book value, and that I can only get half of that if I sell it. This makes it very unappealing to sell it, since I would still have to pay off the remainder of the loan for a car I wouldn’t even own anymore.

As such, I’ve still been driving to work. I mean, if I still have to make the payments and still own the car, I might as well use it. This has left me feeling very cranky indeed. I enjoy my time on the train, slipping on my headphones to catch up on my podcasts and working on whatever knitting project I have in my bag.

Another consequence of still owning the car is that I don’t have the money to invest in a new folding bike. I already have a classic Schwinn with coaster brakes—while a very nice bike and great to ride around my neighborhood, it is totally not convenient for 1) bringing on the train (and risking that pesky 2-bikes-per-train rule), and 2) riding up and down the hills to and from the train station to my office building.

Please offer any advice or suggestions to the comments. I’m looking for anything that would help me out here!

The 124 and 125 Buses

So I recently got a job in King of Prussia for some extra crack spending money. It’s at the mall so I have to take the 124 or 125 from 13th and Market to get there from Center City. The ride there in the morning is nice and isn’t bad at all. But one thing bothers me.

This one bus driver tries to charge me $3.50 for a bus ride. I said “Bullshit.” and put my token in and walked to my seat. Anyone else ever have to pay this rediculous bullshit fare before on the 124 / 125?

The bus ride home sucks though. Everyone is trying to get home ASAP to the city and you have to stand for at least 25 minutes before getting a seat. Even then the seats are cramped and suck. Oh well…that’s SEPTA for you.

SEPTA Biking, Part 1

After months of consideration and internal debate, I’ve decided I would like to get rid of my car. Part of this de-car-ing process includes taking the train to work, which I have done many times and I quite enjoy it. However it would be nice to bike (instead of walk) the mile from the station to my office building, and I have never brought a bike on a regional rail train before.

SEPTA’s website has an informative page on “Bike & Ride” but the rules state that only two bikes are allowed on an RR train (that’s per train, not per car!), and bicycles are only allowed in the wheelchair areas. That means that if there are already two bikes on the train, or if no other wheelchair area is available to a passenger in need, the biker will be asked to leave the train.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia clearly states their position on SEPTA bike access, and claims that “people who depend on reverse commute trains and bicycles to access jobs in the suburbs can be denied boarding, [while] no other regular paying customer faces such uncertainty.” They also have suggestions for improvement, such as allowing more than two bikes on a train, and installing more bike-storing areas.

How often does bike trouble like this occur on the regional rails? Will I be SOL several times a week if I try to bike & ride to work?

Seen on the Street

Friday night I met a bunch of friends up at the London Grill for happy hour. We sat outside, along the west wall of the restaurant. Because we weren’t allowed to block the sidewalk for passersby, we could only sit along one side of the table. There were thirteen of us at one point, and we ended up looking like some very odd version of the Last Supper.

One of the perks to only sitting along one side of the table is that it made for great people watching. About an hour into our stay, a waitress from the restaurant walked two elderly ladies out to the corner, and carefully explained to them how to take the bus back into Center City. She repeated several times, “the 48 will come right here and you should only have to wait a couple of minutes.”

They waited, one in a straw hat with fabric flowers, and the other in a white jacket with large faces sketched on to it, for about seven or eight minutes until the bus came. The driver noticed who his waiting passengers were, and lowered the steps to make it easier for them to get on. The woman wearing the hat struggled getting up the stairs a bit, and so the driver hopped out of his seat to help her. She waited as he sat back down, and leaned over him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He blushed, she grinned and we applauded.

sbb v septa

i’ve just recently returned from switzerland where i took the trains and buses on a daily basis. i can’t help but be negative and report that our quality of life (in general, but especially with transit) here SUCKS in comparison.

their trains are fast, clean, spacious, inexpensive, frequent and on time. i traveled in regional second class. the seats and legroom are equivalent to at least two septa regional rail seats, plus a small table to accomodate food, drinks, tickets and such. the windows are roughly four times larger and the train itself is taller, giving everyone more room to breathe, stand, stretch and store luggage.

when i got on the train monday morning to come to work i had a strong sense of being cramped and claustrophobic – and the train is empty when i get on!

Spot the SEPTA Bus, part two

The University of Pennsylvania has a teaser on its home page today, linking to this story about a Penn lecturer* whose research has influenced the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to promise a $310 million investment towards improved services for people with disabilities.

How clever of the photgrapher to include a public transportation bus in the background composition of the shot. Too bad it’s the wrong damn transit authority.

(The “exploitation of adjunct labor” commenters could have themselves a field day with this one…)

Image source: University of Pennsylvania.

Spot the SEPTA bus!

Ok, dudes and dudettes. 10 points to the first person who can tell me what current movie trailer I snagged this screen-grab from. That would, in fact, be the YouTube player pictured there, because the website for this movie kept crashing my browser from extensive Flash overuse. (Hint, hint.)

Not that this movie is set in Philly. It just happens to have a (very obvious!) SEPTA bus in the trailer.

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