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Thread: (Philadelphia, PA) Taking a close look at SEPTA

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    (Philadelphia, PA) Taking a close look at SEPTA

    Transit agency budgets are going to be under scrutiny. They need to be analyzed with a fine tooth comb:


    03/06/2005
    Taking a close look at SEPTA
    By: PATRICK WALTERS , The Associated Press

    PHILADELPHIA - Critics of this region's transit agency have been calling for years for someone to shine a bright light on its finances in search of wasteful spending, inefficiency and fat.


    Legislators leery of doling out more money to support the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Watchdog groups decrying that cash-strapped SEPTA is inefficient and should contract out some service. Passengers sick of being threatened with higher fares year after year.
    But SEPTA and other transit agencies, whose $68 million bailout last week will mean less money for highway and bridge work around the state, have countered that they have nothing left to do but cut service if the state doesn't find a more reliable funding source to support them.
    Now, both sides could be on their way to getting some answers - like them or not.
    While announcing the bailout plan Monday, Rendell signed an executive order forming a commission to look at ways to cut costs and increase efficiency at the state's transit agencies, the largest of which are SEPTA and Pittsburgh's transit agency, the Port Authority of Allegheny County.
    That effort, which will involve a comprehensive desk audit of how those agencies are run, is sure to be watched closely by both sides.
    "Every problem is defined in terms of being a funding problem. Nobody ever looks at costs," said Wendell Cox, an Illinois-based transportation consultant who was involved in a 1997 audit of SEPTA. "SEPTA's survival depends upon their extorting more money out of Harrisburg."
    The 1997 audit by Phoenix Management Services suggested that SEPTA reduce its work force from 10,000 to about 8,500, reduce base fares from $1.60 to $1.25 and eliminate transfers. It also recommended that SEPTA sell off some computer operations and some bus routes to private companies.
    Since that time, SEPTA has reduced its work force to about 9,000 employees and raised fares to $2, one of the highest rates in the country. Some say the agency can do better.
    Donald Nigro, of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, said his group believes SEPTA does need a better funding system, but also needs to better use its resources. He said SEPTA has fewer passengers per car-mile than comparable regional rail systems across the country.
    "They're running all this equipment around, but they're not being as well used as other operators," Nigro said. He said SEPTA has a lot of redundant service as well, including the multitude of bus lines that run parallel to the agency's north-south Broad Street Subway.
    Citing federal transit data from 2002, Nigro said SEPTA averages 24.8 passengers per car, compared with 30 to 39 passengers for peer systems. He said that pushes SEPTA's cost for each passenger-mile to 41 cents, above the 25- to 30-cent average.
    State officials hope that the commission's research will help resolve questions about whether there is waste at SEPTA, which has a $920 million operating budget for fiscal year 2005, whether there are more places to cut and whether competitive contracting could help.
    SEPTA, however, says it knows of no fat in its budget.
    "What else is there to cut to maintain the service? The answer is zero. We are eating hand-to-mouth," SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said before the funding was announced. "So when the money runs out, the service has to stop."
    Other reviews have been conducted, but Rendell said they weren't as extensive as the one planned now. Earlier in his term, for example, Rendell asked that a study be done to assess the needs of public transit. That study, by former Amtrak chief financial officer Arlene Friner, has been submitted to the government, but the final version hasn't been released.
    Topics that critics want addressed include how much money is spent on health care, management salaries and overtime. The commission will also look at how the state can best raise transit funds, an issue transit agencies say is the root of the problem.
    The governor said he was forming the commission partly in response to critics in the Legislature and others who think the agency should be more efficient.
    If the Legislature does not approve new transit dollars before June 30, by which time the $68 million bailout would run out, Rendell said his administration would ask to divert an additional $344 million in highway funds to keep the agencies afloat through 2006.
    Grant Gulibon, senior policy analyst with the conservative Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, said there has to be a way for the agency to be run better and not just keep getting more money.
    Experts consulted by the foundation believe that SEPTA, the Port Authority and other transit agencies have a spending problem, not a funding problem, Gulibon said.
    But the president of the American Public Transportation Association, a national transit group, said there's only so much that labor-intensive transit groups can do to cut back.
    "If the choice is between paying more and cutting service, the public usually says I'd rather pay more," said William Millar, a former head of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. "I don't want to imply that there's nothing you can do, but you're very limited in what you can do."

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    I dont live in Philly, but it seems like SEPTA has alot of rail transit. Maybe if they abandon some of that and move to busses on some routes?

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    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trinity Moses
    I dont live in Philly, but it seems like SEPTA has alot of rail transit. Maybe if they abandon some of that and move to busses on some routes?
    How would that help the situation?

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trinity Moses
    I dont live in Philly, but it seems like SEPTA has alot of rail transit. Maybe if they abandon some of that and move to busses on some routes?
    No, the real issue is touched on in the article: SEPTA runs buses parallel to it's rail transit the whole length of the city. As a result the bus operations costs are low and rapid transit ridership is light. In Boston, the bus system acts primarily as a feeder for the subway system. There are only a handful of buses that enter downtown.

    Philly could easily move to this type of system, especially in South, North and West Philly. The NE and NW bus routes already mostly serve as subway feeder routes.

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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    No, the real issue is touched on in the article: SEPTA runs buses parallel to it's rail transit the whole length of the city. As a result the bus operations costs are low and rapid transit ridership is light. .

    If its cheaper to run a bus crosstown than a train, why not run the bus and shut down the train? I thought SEPTA had cost issues? If they are costing too much they should opt to run the cheaper form of transit and cancel the more expensive form.

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    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trinity Moses
    If its cheaper to run a bus crosstown than a train, why not run the bus and shut down the train? I thought SEPTA had cost issues? If they are costing too much they should opt to run the cheaper form of transit and cancel the more expensive form.
    Are you comparing the same level of service? I mean, you have to look at speed and capacity as well as cost. You can't just pick the cheapest and hope for the best if you want to run an effective transit authority.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trinity Moses
    If its cheaper to run a bus crosstown than a train, why not run the bus and shut down the train? I thought SEPTA had cost issues? If they are costing too much they should opt to run the cheaper form of transit and cancel the more expensive form.
    Are you suggesting they abandon the Broad Street Subway and Market-Frankford Elevated? I don't think so.

    I am suggesting that they eliminate bus routes (2, 21, 23, 47, 57, etc.) that run parallel to the subway and elevated lines and, instead, redirect people to existing crosstown routes (3, 29, 39, 79, etc.) that deliver people to the subway and elevated lines. This would save bus operation costs and also boost ridership on the almost always empty heavy rail lines.

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello

    I am suggesting that they eliminate bus routes (2, 21, 23, 47, 57, etc.) that run parallel to the subway and elevated lines and, instead, redirect people to existing crosstown routes (3, 29, 39, 79, etc.) that deliver people to the subway and elevated lines. This would save bus operation costs and also boost ridership on the almost always empty heavy rail lines.
    What about the "C" line that runs on top of the Broad Street subway. Is that operated just to keep old people who may have trouble accessing the subway stations happy?

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster
    What about the "C" line that runs on top of the Broad Street subway. Is that operated just to keep old people who may have trouble accessing the subway stations happy?
    The C has very high ridership, mainly because of the Broad Street Subway's lack of appeal and far-spaced stations. I would axe the C too, if I were running SEPTA, and maybe extend some of the crosstown lines that I've been talking about another 1/2 mile or so down Broad Street to cover the gaps between stations.

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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    The C has very high ridership, mainly because of the Broad Street Subway's lack of appeal and far-spaced stations. I would axe the C too, if I were running SEPTA, and maybe extend some of the crosstown lines that I've been talking about another 1/2 mile or so down Broad Street to cover the gaps between stations.

    Well, that sounds like why they are running a bus line on top of the subway..more convenient because the stations on the subway are so far apart. Is it cheaper to take the bus than it is to take the subway? If so that might be another reason.

    Feeder lines to a rapid tranist system isnt' a bad. idea.they did that in Sacramento with their RT light-rail system, where RT acted like a crosstown bus line. But I would think from a service perspective youd want to keep the service that is more convenient and heavily used..the bus route...and can the subway, if the subway is just duplicating the bus route.

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    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Are you suggesting they abandon the Broad Street Subway and Market-Frankford Elevated? I don't think so.

    I am suggesting that they eliminate bus routes (2, 21, 23, 47, 57, etc.) that run parallel to the subway and elevated lines and, instead, redirect people to existing crosstown routes (3, 29, 39, 79, etc.) that deliver people to the subway and elevated lines. This would save bus operation costs and also boost ridership on the almost always empty heavy rail lines.
    AACK!! Not the 21!! Leave the 21!!

    The problem in Philly is that the Market-Frankford line doesn't stop between City Hall and 30th Street. This area encompasses the main office portion of Center City. Though the trolleys stop at 19th and 22nd, these only offer dingy, narrow-staircase riddled connections to the MFL.

    If I were in charge, I'd convert 19th and 22nd street stations into full MFL stops, and get rid of green line trolleys altogether, replacing routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 with bus feeder lines going to and from the various MFL stops in West Philly. The population in Southwest Philly and along Lancaster Ave. is shrinking, and the trolleys are an obstacle to rapid-transit progress as currently configured.

    I'd also start to convert the regional rail trains and stations into a full-blown metro heavy rail system (albeit one that could operate on the same tracks with overhead catenary wires). The capital costs would be more than made up for in not having to pay the wage of all those conductors. Dwell times would shrink (replacing those conductors with automated "doors are closing" announcements), and trains could run more frequently.

    In a fantasy world, one in which the MFL didn't have a wider gauge than the rest of the system, I would combine the MFL and the Route 100 High Speed Line, providing direct high-speed service from Center City all the way to Norristown. The PATCO high speed line would extend the Locust Street Subway.


    And, of course, PATCO would take control of the entire system!

  12. #12
    Ugh, indeed. Is there any real reason why there are no blue line stops between 15th and 30th? I often wondered if there was some time deep in the city's history when it made sense to fly past the western half of Center City, but I was never really able to come up with a rational reason it might have been planned that way. Just how difficult would it be to make one of those green line stops into blue?

    And yeah, it does seem like the BSL is just plain underutilized and forgotten in general. It's interesting that gentrification seems to straddle both rivers as it treads up north into Fishtown and Brewerytown, all the while ignoring the Broad Street corridor north of Vine. I guess a lot of that is due to the fact that Broad is lined with a lot of huge industrial buildings, parking lots, and unhospitible uses which require a ton of money to rehab, while it's easier to renovate in the more residential rowhouse neighborhoods. But it seems like the BSL really does need to become the backbone of city transit.

    There's always that plan (collecting dust) to extend it into the median of Roosevelt Blvd...

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    AACK!! Not the 21!! Leave the 21!!
    All it does is suck ridership from the MFL. Financially, it makes more sense to put these people on the 40, 46 or 64 to the Market-Frankford Elevated.

    If I were in charge, I'd convert 19th and 22nd street stations into full MFL stops, and get rid of green line trolleys altogether, replacing routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 with bus feeder lines going to and from the various MFL stops in West Philly. The population in Southwest Philly and along Lancaster Ave. is shrinking, and the trolleys are an obstacle to rapid-transit progress as currently configured.
    Or just permenently terminate them at 40th Street Station, making them feeders for the MFL. Then take the Subway-Surface tracks from 34th to 13th and use the beds for local MFL service, retaining the express service between 30th and 15th.

    And, of course, PATCO would take control of the entire system!
    NJT and PATCO have the same issue of duplicative service. All those NJT buses should terminate at PATCO stations and people could use the trains to reach Center City.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    Ugh, indeed. Is there any real reason why there are no blue line stops between 15th and 30th? I often wondered if there was some time deep in the city's history when it made sense to fly past the western half of Center City, but I was never really able to come up with a rational reason it might have been planned that way.
    There was nothing there when the MFL was built.

    From http://www.thebhc.org/publications/B...4/Churella.pdf

    "During the mid-nineteenth century, the PRR operated several stations in
    central Philadelphia, each time moving away from the commercial district
    between Broad Street and the Delaware River. This seemingly
    counterintuitive policy reflected City ordinances that banned steam
    locomotives from surface streets in the rectangular area bordered by Vine
    and South Streets and the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers."

    "Wanamaker opened his “Grand Depot” department store in 1876 (located,
    fittingly enough, in a former PRR freight station), he shifted Philadelphia’s
    commercial hub farther to the west. The construction of a new City Hall at
    the intersection of Broad and Market Streets had the same effect. The
    Pennsylvania reacted to this commercial migration by moving its principal
    passenger station from West Philadelphia to the corner of 15th and Market
    Streets, opposite City Hall. The new Broad Street Station opened in 1881.3
    From the west, passenger trains crossed the Schuylkill River and avoided
    city streets by entering Broad Street Station on a massive steel and stone
    viaduct more than two thousand feet in length. Properly known as the
    Filbert Street Extension, but typically referred to as the “Chinese Wall,”
    this viaduct prevented commercial development along the north side of
    Market Street, occupied valuable real estate, and restricted access to
    northwestern Philadelphia."

    "With the elimination of Broad Street Station, the City could build a new street
    (Pennsylvania Boulevard, now known as JFK Boulevard) linking City Hall to the
    west side of the Schuylkill."

    "In the 1925 agreement, the City agreed to relocate the Philadelphia Rapid Transit’s elevated lines off Market Street and on to Railroad-owned land west of
    the Schuylkill River. PRT rapid-transit trains would have used an upper-level
    wing on the south side of 30th Street Station, matching the upper (commuter)
    level on the north side of the station. The Railroad objected to this arrangement,
    citing aesthetic considerations and emphasizing the difficulty of bringing
    passengers off Market Street and into the station underneath the elevated track.
    The City’s planned extension of East River Drive past the site of 30th Street
    Station created a more serious problem, since that street would have intersected
    the elevated railway at grade. The only alternative was to replace the Market
    Street Elevated with a subway. Another round of negotiations ensued, with the
    City further demanding that the railroad replace its proposed bridge over the
    Schuylkill with a tunnel under the river. The Railroad, objecting to the added
    expanse and citing similar problems at Penn Station in New York, opposed any
    plan that would increase the number of steps confronting commuters at 30th
    Street Station. In retaliation, the City threatened to deny the Railroad permission
    to build underground tail tracks at Suburban Station, citing possible interference
    with a proposed north-south Broad Street subway. On 28 Dec. 1927, a
    compromise settlement provided for the relocation of the PRT in a subway past
    the site of 30th Street, thus preserving the station’s elegant façade from the unsightly effects of elevated railway trackage. In the end, while the Railroad did
    make some modifications to the Suburban Station approach trackage, only the
    PRT went under the river."

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    AACK!! Not the 21!! Leave the 21!!

    The problem in Philly is that the Market-Frankford line doesn't stop between City Hall and 30th Street. This area encompasses the main office portion of Center City. Though the trolleys stop at 19th and 22nd, these only offer dingy, narrow-staircase riddled connections to the MFL. !
    No, the problem is that their are TOO many stations on the Market Frankford line. Compared to Washington Metro the station spacing are way too frequent. The distance betwen Farrugut North and DuPont Circle (as dense as anything in center city Philly) is like six blocks. The orginal idea was for the streetcar tunnel to extend ALL the way to the Deleware Waterfront but apparently construction East of City Hall was very difficult so they decided to put just the subway in and it has way too many stations between 13th. and 2nd. At this point the streetcars provide decent service and I see quite a few passengers transferring at both 13th. St and 30th. St. The major problem is that late at night or on weekends the frequency's make that transfer a real time killer (you might be bettter off walking in many instances).
    Last edited by Dharmster; 15 Mar 2005 at 3:54 PM.

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    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    The C has very high ridership, mainly because of the Broad Street Subway's lack of appeal and far-spaced stations. I would axe the C too, if I were running SEPTA, and maybe extend some of the crosstown lines that I've been talking about another 1/2 mile or so down Broad Street to cover the gaps between stations.
    There's no two Broad St. Subway Stations that are much more than 1/4 of a mile apart - certainly none of them approach a 1/2 mile in distance. Pressure washing the stations once every 3 or 4 months and adding one escalator to each station would certainly cost less than running the C bus day in and day out.

    Besides, as was mentioned, the 2 and the 23 run parallel to the subway and the C for most of their routes - just 2 blocks west and east of Broad, respectively.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    AACK!! Not the 21!! Leave the 21!!

    The problem in Philly is that the Market-Frankford line doesn't stop between City Hall and 30th Street. This area encompasses the main office portion of Center City. Though the trolleys stop at 19th and 22nd, these only offer dingy, narrow-staircase riddled connections to the MFL.
    How long have you been here and you already have the Philly attitude? If it's dingy and narrow you clean it and make it wider (or replace with escalators because it really isn't that narrow it just looks that way because it's such a long way down) - you don't throw it away.

    If I were in charge, I'd convert 19th and 22nd street stations into full MFL stops, and get rid of green line trolleys altogether, replacing routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 with bus feeder lines going to and from the various MFL stops in West Philly. The population in Southwest Philly and along Lancaster Ave. is shrinking, and the trolleys are an obstacle to rapid-transit progress as currently configured.
    If you want to see ridership plummet this is a great idea. Take a look at housing values and the westward creep along those trolley lines - then walk a few blocks away from the trolley tracks and notice the difference.

    I'd also start to convert the regional rail trains and stations into a full-blown metro heavy rail system (albeit one that could operate on the same tracks with overhead catenary wires). The capital costs would be more than made up for in not having to pay the wage of all those conductors. Dwell times would shrink (replacing those conductors with automated "doors are closing" announcements), and trains could run more frequently.
    what's the point in this? You don't need a heavy rail system to get rid of conductors. You just need a POP system and high level platforms.
    I seriously beg to differ on the heavy rail capital costs. You must be forgetting that the entire system shares tracks with Amtrak. Are you going to run heavy rail lines to Paoli? Trenton? Wilmington? Norristown? Media? And what are you going to do with the Center City Tunnel?

    In a fantasy world, one in which the MFL didn't have a wider gauge than the rest of the system, I would combine the MFL and the Route 100 High Speed Line, providing direct high-speed service from Center City all the way to Norristown. The PATCO high speed line would extend the Locust Street Subway. And, of course, PATCO would take control of the entire system!

    Here we agree. They could've easily planned for the Route 100 to come into at least 30th St. when they were redesigning the El in West Philly. They also could've buried both the El and Route 100 under Market for not much more than what they're paying to keep it elevated. PATCO should extend to 30th St. under Locust stopping at 20th or 21st St. along the way. And i definitely think PATCO should take control of the El and Subway.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster
    No, the problem is that their are TOO many stations on the Market Frankford line. Compared to Washington Metro the station spacing are way too frequent. The distance betwen Farrugut North and DuPont Circle (as dense as anything in center city Philly) is like six blocks. The orginal idea was for the streetcar tunnel to extend ALL the way to the Deleware Waterfront but apparently construction East of City Hall was very difficult so they decided to put just the subway in and it has way too many stations between 13th. and 2nd. At this point the streetcars provide decent service and I see quite a few passengers transferring at both 13th. St and 30th. St. The major problem is that late at night or on weekends the frequency's make that transfer a real time killer (you might be bettter off walking in many instances).
    I don't know where you got that bit about the intention for the subway/surface cars to extend to the waterfront. All of the trolleys used to run on the surface up and down Market St. and it was absolute chaos. The El replaced all of the trolleys running east/west on Market St. and when it was built it included an elevated spur that ran along the waterfront down to South St.

    I agree it would be nice if the El had one fewer station between 15th & 2nd but we have what we have and i don't think it's much of an issue for anyone who rides it on a regular basis. As for there being too many stations on the line as a whole- not at all. It only takes 22 minutes to get from City Hall to Frankford and even less to 69th St. It carries 120,000 people a day with no park & rides because it is what it is. It doesn't need tinkering.

    The stations between 2nd St. and 15th St. are so close together because this is where the City began. 70 years ago all of the commercial activity in the city took place east of Broad between Arch and Walnut. The stations were placed where they were because it's where they intersected with the north/south trolley routes.
    Putting a stop between 15th & 30th was never seen as an issue because the subway/surface lines stopped at 19th & 22nd.

    Transferring from the El to a trolley car at 13th, 15th, or 30th doesnt' have to take a long time. All SEPTA needs to do is adjust the schedules of the 5 routes so they don't all arrive at the same time. If they did that you'd never wait more than 2 minutes during the day or 5 minutes at night. Even still, every time i'm headed out to the Rittenhouse area (which is probably about once a week) i always take the Subway to the trolleys and i'd be stretching it to say that i've ever had to wait longer than 5 minutes.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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    wouldn't elimiating these double routes decrease overall costs, plus us residents of NW PA have heard rumors that your buss drivers make a rediculous amount of money, wouild pay cuts also help here?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster
    No, the problem is that their are TOO many stations on the Market Frankford line. Compared to Washington Metro the station spacing are way too frequent. The distance betwen Farrugut North and DuPont Circle (as dense as anything in center city Philly) is like six blocks.
    Center City Philadelphia is far denser than Downtown DC. More frequent station spacing makes sense here. Consider what's at each of the stops east of City Hall: 13th Street is a quick interchange with the trolleys; 11th Street leads to Market East Station; 8th Street connects with PATCO; 5th Street is at Independence Mall; 2nd Street is the Old City district. I suppose a rider going straight through these areas would find it annoying. Maybe they could utilize the whole A/B train scheme they have in outlying stations.

    Metro is closer in purpose and functionality to PATCO, which attracts 'choice' transit riders. Maybe SETPA could at least hire PATCO's contractor to clean the BSS and MFL stations and trains, if not take them over completely.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster
    No, the problem is that their are TOO many stations on the Market Frankford line. Compared to Washington Metro the station spacing are way too frequent.
    I disagree. The WMATA system functions a more of a commuter rail system than an urban rapid transit system. Very few intracity riders can or do use Metrorail.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Very few intracity riders can or do use Metrorail.
    I beg to differ...

    45,412 DC workers(not including residents of MD or VA) ride Metro daily. That's more than ride the bus (38,163). And that's only for commuting, not counting non-work trips.

    That's also slightly more people than ride the SEPTA Broad Street Line, Market Frankford Line, Trolleys, and Regional Rail combined, among workers in the city of Philadelphia (44,166 total daily commuters for all of these, also not counting suburban riders).

    Surprised?

    Metro is a hybrid of an intracity rapid transit and a commuter rail. As a DC resident, I rode Metro daily as a commuter, as well as for non-work trips. True, it leaves something to be desired for cross-town trips, but DC is a very radial city with relatively low densities on the fringes (although it appears light rail/streetcar is in the long-term works for Georgetown to points east)

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Chicago has something like 15 L stations and 5 commuter rail stations all within an area that's not much bigger than two square miles. Too many? Well over half a million people use those stations every day, so I don't think they'd think so.

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    I suppose a rider going straight through these areas would find it annoying. Maybe they could utilize the whole A/B train scheme they have in outlying stations.
    They used to use A/B at some center city stations but changes in ridership patterns caused overcrowding so now they stop all trains at most stations. It's just a matter of time before they abandon skip stop completely like Chicago already has.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Chicago has something like 15 L stations and 5 commuter rail stations all within an area that's not much bigger than two square miles. Too many? Well over half a million people use those stations every day, so I don't think they'd think so.
    But the whole point there is Chicago has a tremendous employment density and the L was build a long, long time ago. If you built it now you'd have fewer stations as that makes sense from an operational standpoint. The other major reason is that frequent spacing makes service frequency of less than 3 minutes unreliable due to the inevitable issues of dwell time at stations. I work at Union Station and the next station going in is Judicuary Square which is like six blocks away. You WALK if you live/work/go to school (Georgetown Law Center is between the two stations) between the two stations or take the bus. That's the way it SHOULD be. Where you have very closely spaced stations (Metro Center/Gallery Place) it's because of transfer stations. You now New York Avenue open on the Red line just North of Union Station, but it's more like four blocks away and before it opened the nearest station was RI Avenue more than a mile away.

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