El Nightmare

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:11 am EST

For a moment there yesterday morning, I thought I’d wandered into one of my nightmares: SEPTA buses and more SEPTA buses.

Everywhere! As far as the eye could see! And none of them actually moving!

I was getting a little freaked out, but then I spotted this:

And I have to admit, my first thought was “El Shuttle? WTF? Does SEPTA think that’s Spanish for ‘bus’ or something?”

Well, it took me a minute, but I eventually remembered that the Market-Frankford El is currently bussing between 40th and 69th Streets.

Ugh. That IS a nightmare.


8 out of 10 Would Sell Firstborn Child to Avoid Riding SEPTA

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:14 pm EST

In the Inky yesterday (via Philebrity):

From March 2004 through last month, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas climbed from $1.74 to $2.40 - a 38 percent increase - in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs. Yet weekday SEPTA ridership went up by only 2 percent during that span.

Is anyone as stunned by this as I am? I mean, I’m astonished that most commuters prefer being abused at the gas station to being abused at the train station. Who could possibly have guessed that people would rather pawn their worldly possessions for gas money than ride SEPTA? I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney:
“Most people, after a price goes up, get used to it, and unless there are other circumstances, will return to the automobile. For people who have those options, the attractiveness of public transportation is generally not the economy of it, but the speed, comfort and efficiency of it.”

Ummmm… what?! The “speed, comfort and efficiency…” of SEPTA?!! Should he even be allowed to use those words to allude to SEPTA? Isn’t that like, false advertising or something? Quick, somebody call the Better Business Bureau!

See Also:
-SEPTA: Gas price, ridership not equal [Inky]
-Rumblings… [Philebrity]
-People Pawning Goods To Buy Gas [MSNBC]


SEPTA: In a Nutshell

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:17 am EST

I got a new cell phone over the weekend, so to prepare my old phone for retirement, we downloaded the old pictures and things I wanted to keep. And I came across the picture below, which I took on April 1st of this year at Suburban Station.

I realize it’s a rather crappy photo, but I just need to point out the thing you see hanging from the light there. It’s a loud speaker, strung up and wired in the most ghetto fashion you can possibly imagine. Now I realize they are working on this station (it’s only been what, 87 years?), but I found myself thinking “If anything could sum up SEPTA in a nutshell, this is it.”


Let’s Hear it for the SEPTA Webmonkeys!

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:33 pm EST

Oh my god. I think the SEPTA monkeys may have actually done something right! Their webmonkeys, that is.

I was checking out a transit schedule today, and I noticed they made some changes to their online content:

-Html schedules that don’t take five years to load, even on a broadband connection (but still the option to download the pdf if you want it).

-A clickable rail system map, that tells you the exact location, hours, and fares for each station.

I’m not sure when these upgrades happened (could have been a while ago), but I’m just tickled. I realize this may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but holy crap if this isn’t a huge improvement!

Baby steps, you know?

So, SEPTA webmonkeys, keep up the good work! Definitely fix the Center City street and transit map next.

Oh, and just get rid of the trip planner. I mean, who the hell uses that thing anyway?

Update: Thanks to Blinq, and Philadelphia Will Do, and Akkam’s Razor for mentioning this post.


A Thumb Drools

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:59 pm EST

I thought the anagram transit maps I’ve been seeing on Boing Boing this month were pretty cool. People have been taking various cities’ mass transit maps and rearranging the names. It all started with London, I think.

I kept hoping someone would make a Philly version. Well, the wait is over:

Philly Broad Street Line Map Remix [djrock3k]

[via Boing Boing]


This is a Beatin’ Town

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:49 pm EST

I know I’m a little late in posting this, but I loved it so much that I don’t care. Remember the SEPTA driver who threw a woman off his bus? Well, I saw these last week on Philebrity and almost blew Mike’s Hard Lemonade out of my nose. Would’ve posted them immediately if I wasn’t in Vegas.

Read my old entries for background info:
-SEPTA’s Transit All-Stars
-This Week in SEPTA

View the images after the jump: (more…)


This Week in SEPTA

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:16 pm EST

February 8th: The Bus Driver

“The driver and the passenger began arguing about him not stopping at her stop,” Russell said. “He grabbed her by the hair and knocked her head into a pole.”

The driver then opened the door and allegedly threw the victim into traffic… [Inky]

I understand how he must have felt. On more than one occasion, I’ve felt the urge to do that same thing myself. To SEPTA drivers.

Edney was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and terroristic threats.

The driver did not follow proper protocol. [CBS 3]

The driver did not follow proper protocol??? Ummm… ya think, CBS 3?? Ya think??

February 9th: The Bomb Sniffer

The technology has never before been put to civilian use in the United States. SEPTA’s purchase has made the transit system a proving ground for the wares of a struggling California firm, one that is millions of dollars in the red and trying to emerge from the twin clouds of expensive lawsuits and a federal securities investigation. [Inky, via Philebrity]

Leave it to SEPTA to contract with a company that can’t get its act together. Seriously.

More Reading:
-SEPTA driver charged with assault after altercation with a passenger [Inky]
-Police: SEPTA Driver Tossed Passenger From Bus [CBS 3]
-SEPTA unveils antiterror weapons [Inky]
-Breaking: SEPTA Busts Out AntiTerror Gear Appropriate Circa 1972 [Philebrity]


Diamonds in the Rough

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:51 am EST

In spite of my vehement SEPTA hate, I’ve always tried to remain open-minded about the individual SEPTA employees. I don’t automatically assume that each one of them is a bumbling incompetent idiot (though many do eventually live up to that description).

That said, I’ve been stung so many times that it’s not always easy to maintain that attitude.

But every now and then, I’m pleasantly surprised by a SEPTA worker. The good ones are out there, and SEPTA should do more to encourage recognition their service.

There are always diamonds in the rough. Sometimes, we just have to look extra hard to find them.

-A Stranger in the Dark [Blinq]



Filed under: — Kate @ 1:49 pm EST

My latest SEPTA rant was mentioned yesterday on Philadelphia Will Do. Very cool. I guess some people actually like it when I run my mouth off. ;-)


Oh SEPTA… If Only You Were Prettier…

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:37 pm EST

There’s an editorial in City Paper today bitching about how fugly SEPTA is.

It goes on and on about the poor design choices for the vehicles and stations, but then negates itself by citing all of the good (and by good, I mean not total crap) choices, as well as the reasoning behind the bad ones.

But my favorite part of this piece of schlock?

I suspect that just as many [SEPTA] riders would appreciate buses, trains and subways that not only get them from point A to point B quickly but do so while delighting the eye.

Delighting the eye?! You know what I’d appreciate? Token machines in every station. Clearly posted signage. Buses, trains and subways that run on time. Buses, trains and subways that don’t break down. Drivers that don’t skip your stop because you “weren’t standing up,” even though the “stop requested” sign was lit. Stations that don’t smell like urine.

But maybe I just have low expectations.

[Via Philebrity]

See Also:
Crass Transit [CityPaper]


SEPTA’s Transit All-Stars

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:56 am EST

Remember that old slogan? “SEPTA: We’re getting there.”

I used to think it was the absolute worst… motto… ever. It was as if they were mocking me every time I boarded a train.

And then the SEPTA monkeys came up with this beauty here on the left (image nicked from Philebrity).

Their new “Genuine Philly” campaign prompted a collective “WTF?!!” from basically every person who saw one of these stupid posters.

I guess they were trying to stir our inner Philadelphian spirits. Whatever.

I didn’t think it could get any worse.

But I was wrong.

Presenting the SEPTA employee trading cards:

Edo actually got one of these last week, but alas, he threw it away and I wasn’t able to scan it for your guffawing pleasure.

Oh, did I mention that this ad campaign is costing SEPTA $600,000?

The same SEPTA that can barely wipe its own ass without asking the state for more money.


I wonder how many urine soaked subway stations could be cleaned up with $600,000.

See also:
Bubble gum not included [Inky]
Update: SEPTA Marketing Dept. Just Can’t Stop Making “Philebrity Gold” [Philebrity]



Filed under: — Kate @ 10:28 am EST

The zookeeper came to settle the monkeys.

SEPTA strike is over

I know he’s moved on to bigger and more important “governor” things, but can I renew my motion to make Ed Rendell this city’s permanent mayor?

Our regular shitty service should be back up and running by this evening.


SEPTA: Spoiled Rotten Brats

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:40 pm EST

Well, we’re coming to the end of the first work week sans SEPTA (Stupid, Elementary Poltroon, Tiptoeing in Apathy). Thankfully, I don’t have any problems getting to work, but I have been a prisoner of West Philly for the last five days. Yeah, yeah, I could walk or take a cab, but that’s not the point.

I really am trying to feel sympathetic toward the union workers. While it seems absurd that they don’t want to pay a percentage of their healthcare benefits, it does seem very unfair that SEPTA management would not have to do the same.

But they are not even trying!! They broke off negotiations on Tuesday night and haven’t talked since. According to Philly.com, the talks have lasted a whopping 2.5 hours since the strike began on Monday at 12:01 AM. And if this keeps up, SEPTA is in serious danger of losing additional state funding that it sorely needs.

And regardless of whether you want to blame the unions or the management, the top or the bottom, it’s still SEPTA’s fault.

All of this seems so childish in comparison to what’s going on with Philadelphia’s firefighters and paramedics, who are also trying to negotiate a new contract. Consider this excerpt from an article Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News:

Philadelphia paramedics make roughly $50,000, 10 percent more than the $45,000 paid to firefighters. Plus, they average an additional $20,000 to $30,000 in overtime, but more than one-third of them want to transfer to the lower-paying firefighter’s job.

The Fire Department made 255,000 runs in 2004, and 200,000 of them were medical and not fires. We have under 300 paramedics, meaning we’re already short at least 50, and 106 of them have applied to get out and become firefighters.”

The paramedics and firefighters are asking for:
• Creation of a stress-relief program to deal with the widespread “burnout” problem that drives the average paramedic out after seven or eight years, well short of qualifying for a 10-year pension. A union consultant said stress levels among local paramedics resemble “what you would see coming out of Vietnam.”
• An agreement to allow paramedics, who work two 10-hour and two 14-hour days a week, time to eat lunch or dinner. There are no scheduled meal breaks at present, the union says.
• The provision of a second radio to each two-member Emergency Medical System team. At present, only one team member has a radio, a situation the union calls dangerous.
• A redeployment plan that would enable paramedics to rotate periodically from rescue vehicles to fire trucks, where they would work for a time as firefighters.

While half the city’s bus drivers won’t even hang up their cell phones on the job, our paramedics have to beg for time to eat!! Consider that, you SEPTA monkeys!

See also:
Day 5 of strike, with no end in sight [Philly.com]
Rendell: SEPTA strike hurts funding [Inky]
Analysis: A Few Words About This SEPTA Thing [Philebrity]
Return to Sender: Stranded in the City [Phillyist]
Paramedics look for stress relief [PDN]


SEPTA: Now They’re Not Even “Getting There”

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:21 pm EST

I’m sure those of you who live in my general region already know that everyone’s favorite transit monkeys went on strike today.

I can’t even begin to tell you of the fits of rage that SEPTA has caused me over the last four years, but this really takes the cake.

Philebrity says it better than I ever could…

More on this later.


A Rush of Blood to the Head

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:28 pm EST

Saw Coldplay last night at the Tweeter Center. Great show. Awesome performance, very entertaining. Not as spectacular as when I saw them from the center of the 3rd row a few years ago, but still very cool. Probably the best sound quality I’ve ever heard at the Tweeter Center, too.

So, after the show, we got in line for the RiverLink ferry to take us back to Penn’s Landing (and away from New Jersey). Everything was fine until hordes of people began merging into the line ahead of us, until it was probably 20 people deep! I couldn’t believe it. There was no organization, no crowd control, nothing. And we, being the civilized people that we are, were screwed by thinking that people would actually line up in a reasonable fashion. We ended up waiting in line for an hour while the bastards in front of us boarded the ferries and took off. I was SO pissed. Maybe this is a common phenomenon, but I’ve taken the ferry lots of times, and I’ve never seen it happen before.

Of course we missed the subway (because freaking SEPTA stops running them just after midnight), so we decided to walk up Walnut until we saw a bus or got to Little Pete’s, whichever happened first. We ended up walking the whole 17 blocks, which turned out to be just fine since it was a beautiful night. Along the way, we saw the breaking news story that Peter Jennings had died. I couldn’t believe it had happened so fast. Very sad. Lung cancer is so nasty.

But anyway, we still had a great night, albeit a late one. So tired…!


Maybe SEPTA Could Use Them?

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:35 pm EST

Monkeys Threaten San Juan


The SEPTA monkeys are at it again:

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:55 am EST

You mean there are people who have to pay for part of their health insurance?



Filed under: — Kate @ 11:16 am EST

I hate…

…winter in Philadelphia. It was 13 freaking degrees (F) when I woke up this morning.

…”reality” television. I’m so tired of hearing people complain about it. If it’s that bad, then don’t watch it!! I’ve never watched “reality” TV. EVER. And I never will.

…SEPTA. Worst and most expensive. In the country. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, SEPTA is our sorry excuse for a public transportation system here in Philly. Currently, they want to jack up our fares to $2.00 per token/$3.00 cash (not to mention cutting service, etc.). You people suck! For one thing, stop using tokens. And maybe you could send some observers to see how they do it in NYC.