[rant, rampant over-generalization and over-simplification]
I've seen my share of panhandling, sleeping homeless in quiet underground station corners, patrons urinating against the wall, and smoking cigarettes on the underground platforms, with Transit Police standing idly by, waiting for more 'serious' crimes before acting, or station attendents, hermetically sealed insinde their bullet-proof boxes, some dispensing tokens (for exact change only) when a token _machine_ would do nicely (let alone that they still use tokens at all), and some attendents doing absolutely nothing when they should be monitoring security cameras, which themseleves are of dubious functionality. I've seen three contractors performing (er..make that one contractor performing and two watching) what seems to be their semi-annual station floor cleaning, when just one worker and a floorscrubber would do.
Gives SEPTA's Market-Frankford El character, no? Well, no. Today I rode the train between 5th and 34th at lunchtime, as I do often. A man smoking a cigarette on the platform boarded the train, cigarette in hand, and continuted to puff away as the train left the station. He appeared completely oblivious to the blatant discourtesy, let alone illegality, of this. "Would you please put that out," I said, sternly.
"...I'm getting off at the next stop," he said. Well, I must have had some nerve to make such a request that would have inconvenienced him for a few minutes. I just moved into a different car, not wanting to escalate an altercation, knowing that no one would come to my aid if I got into trouble.
Philadelphians don't care about their subway system. It is manifested in the lazy, surly workers, the indifferent transit police, the smoking, urinating riders, even the operators don't seem to care. It's no wonder that SEPTA is in such dire financial straights. Why should a system that is so obviously mismanaged be given an infusion of cash? Along with city hall, SEPTA is a tremendous obstacle that keeps Philadelphia from improving its image to outsiders. It is a disgrace to this city.
[\rant, over-generlization and over-simplification]