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Thread: I hate SEPTA!

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    I hate SEPTA!

    [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]

  2. #2
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I agree with you! Sad part is that too many aspects of public transportation just like that. And that is one of the many reasons why Americans drive their car one block to the big box of choice.
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I agree with you! Sad part is that too many aspects of public transportation just like that. And that is one of the many reasons why Americans drive their car one block to the big box of choice.
    I have heard similar SEPTA stories from other locals, too. From what they tell me, and it passes my 'smell' test, any thoughts of streamlining operations are met with the combined stonewall of management egos and outright hostility from the Transit Workers' Union. And also, why don't they have convenient, even seamless, connections (including an interoperable fare collection system) between themselves and NJTransit, PATH, the NYC Subways, AMTRAK, etc? (A, because nobody in power wants to let anything get in the ways of their respective egos.)

    Doesn't SEPTA ultimately want to get out of the rail business, going entirely to busses, too?

    Oh yea, just be a railfan even thinking of taking a picture of one of their trains and watch the SEPTA police hop to it.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes

    Well put......well put.....
    The subway system there does suck eggs.......you forgot to mention the large number of prostitutes that work at the entrances of the stations.......

    Speaking of public urination....reminds me of my family's vacation to Washington DC a couple years back......we participated in the DC olympics:

    First event- The 1 meter piss hurdles (Homeless guy took what had to be one of the longest stinkiest pee's I've ever had to witness while my family was walking back to the hotel.....all five of us cleared that hurdle.....thank god......but we'll never get that vision out of our heads

    Second event- Panhandle Dash- All entrances to the subway system......

    Third Event- Congressional shuffle......see the second event.....

    Fourth event- Finding a cab.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Since this rant deals more with non-planning related aspects of SEPTA, I'm moving it to the FAC.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quit complaining

    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    [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, ......
    What do you want, clean, grafitti free, bleached stations, with a starbucks at each underground platform? Come ride my transit system and tell me what you think.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    What do you want, clean, grafitti free, bleached stations, with a starbucks at each underground platform?
    Actually, yes. That sounds reasonable. Except the Starbucks. Remember, no food or drink.

    The One, Did you have this Washington, DC experience near the Smithsonian Metro stop? The few times I got off there to go to museums, I, along with all the tourist familes coming up the escalator onto the Mall, was bum-rushed by half a dozen homeless men, each hawking the non-motorized version of 'let me clean your windshield' (in this case, offering to give tourists directions to various attractions), hopefully in exchange for some money. There's little the transit system can do about this, and it's part of a wider homeless problem. On the one hand, most downtown DC stations are relatively free of this sort of thing, enough not to make a damper on commuter mode choice. On the other, it makes a bad impression on the tourists, most of whom don't venture into the actual 'city' part of Washington, DC anyway.

    Despite Metro's problems, as a daily commuter for the last two years there, I generally took for granted how 'clean and safe' the system was. Philadelphia's subway, though much older, could definitely learn a thing or two from Metro, or, for that matter, the NYC Subway. 'Clean and safe' is not a pipe dream. It's gotten to be that way on the surface in Center City Philadelphia thanks to a concerted effort by the Center City District, promptly removing litter and graffiti, and enforcing laws against public drunkenness and panhandling. Why not in its rapid-transit stations? Misplaced priorities, and mismanagement.

    In sum, maybe if enough people start caring enough to complain, something will start to happen. It'll probably take very strong leadership, which is currently nonexistant.

    [dream]Maybe if the current administration succeeds in dismantling Amtrak, SEPTA could snag David Gunn...he'd sure shake things up. [/dream]

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    OT = Chevy, I didn't realize that you are now in Philly? Are you liking it aside from SEPTA?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Yes, I do like Philly. The tradeoff for crooked local politics and a third-world transit system is a city rich in character and undiscovered gems.

    On another note,

    We're doing a strategic plan for a neighborhood in North Philly called Upper Strawberry Mansion. If I get a chance, I'll post some photos.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    nearby....

    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    Actually, yes. That sounds reasonable. Except the Starbucks. Remember, no food or drink.

    The One, Did you have this Washington, DC experience near the Smithsonian Metro stop? The few times I got off there to go to museums, I, along with all the tourist familes coming up the escalator onto the Mall, was bum-rushed by half a dozen homeless men, each hawking the non-motorized version of 'let me clean your windshield' (in this case, offering to give tourists directions to various attractions), hopefully in exchange for some money. There's little the transit system can do about this, and it's part of a wider homeless problem. On the one hand, most downtown DC stations are relatively free of this sort of thing, enough not to make a damper on commuter mode choice. On the other, it makes a bad impression on the tourists, most of whom don't venture into the actual 'city' part of Washington, DC anyway.

    Despite Metro's problems, as a daily commuter for the last two years there, I generally took for granted how 'clean and safe' the system was. Philadelphia's subway, though much older, could definitely learn a thing or two from Metro, or, for that matter, the NYC Subway. 'Clean and safe' is not a pipe dream. It's gotten to be that way on the surface in Center City Philadelphia thanks to a concerted effort by the Center City District, promptly removing litter and graffiti, and enforcing laws against public drunkenness and panhandling. Why not in its rapid-transit stations? Misplaced priorities, and mismanagement.

    In sum, maybe if enough people start caring enough to complain, something will start to happen. It'll probably take very strong leadership, which is currently nonexistant.

    [dream]Maybe if the current administration succeeds in dismantling Amtrak, SEPTA could snag David Gunn...he'd sure shake things up. [/dream]
    My experience in DC was just up the street from Ford's Theater towards the Hyatt. It didn't help that it was 100F degrees that day and fully 100% humidity!!!

    I agree that Metro is much much nicer than SEPTA, but then again it really had better be, since all the politicians use or hear about it every day All you have to do is point to some of the cleaner examples of European rapid transit systems to answer the question about whether we should expect clean stations and a starbucks at every corner I like DC's metro connections to regional rail and bus system, but that's just me and I haven't really used it too much in the last 5 years.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

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