Tuesday, April 30, 2002

ARCHIVES - 04/30/02

A fight on board a 33 bus delayed service in Center City late this afternoon. At approximately 5:45pm, a male passenger allegedly assulted a female passenger with an umbrella on board 7205 (Route 33/5175 block), forcing the driver to stop the bus at 19 & Vine Sts. SEPTA Police and three supervisors arrived at the scene. 7205 was taken off its scheduled run and passengers put on other buses...

A large contingent of Philadelphia and SEPTA Police converged on the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Market St at around 5:00pm after reports of a flasher in the area. Police had 11 and 12 Sts to traffic for a few minutes as officers converged on the Loews Hotel, located next to SEPTA Headquarters. The police activity caused several minutes of gridlock while officers searched for the suspect...

Turnout was low at the ASP Hearings in Media and Andorra this week. About 6-7 people spoke at Media Courthouse on Monday night, most of whom expressed opposed to the restructuring of the 115.Part of the opposition centered on the elimination of 115 service north of Brookline, but also some complaints were made regarding the lack of Saturday service to MacDade Mall via Folcroft and Norwood.

At the Roxborough hearing tonight, about 20 people appeared at the Houston Rec Center, most of whom were opposed to the Andorra route restructuring. Only 2 speakers were in favor of the plan, but mainly they were opposed to the artics running through the neighborhood.There was some tension between a couple of opponents to the restructuring - including an elderly city employee and a phone company employee who has riden the 9 (and it's predecessor, PTC Route A) for nearly 35 years - who took exception to the "newer" residents of the neighborhood and their seemingly intense opposition to any transit service in the neighborhood.

The issue in Andorra seems to have caused a generational split or sorts. The older residents spoke out in opposition to the plan, expressing concern about reduced hours of service and the lack of a direct link to Center City. The newer residents in Andorra were mainly in favor of the plan to extend the 35 to Andorra and cut the 9 back to Summit Loop.The plan's supporters appear more opposed to the number of buses running in the neighborhood than anything else, particularly the artics from Allegheny that cover the 9 service at all times. This is one good reason that Allegheny should have some 40-foot buses instead of being an all artic depot; that and and off-peak weekend ridership would barely fill a 40-footer.

Oddly enough, no hearings on the ASP were scheduled in Havertown, Ardmore, or Manayunk. My guess is that SEPTA figured out that transit dependent riders in Ardmore, Havertown, Llanerch, and Manoa - the people who would be affected most by the cuts on Route 115 north of Brookline - would not have convenient access to the Media trolley after 7:00pm.Now, when SEPTA held hearings on the route improvements in Bucks County, at least three hearings were held in Central and Southern Bucks Counties - as I recall, they were held in Doylestown, Oxford Valley, and Levittown. But, of course, why should SEPTA allow too much input from riders in Delaware County? After all, Tom Heyward hasn't been chairman of SEPTA since 1999.

As far as Manayunk goes, I don't think SEPTA took the needs of the loyal 35 riders who travel "up and down the hill" between Main St and Ridge Av before planning the 35changes. SEPTA's Andorra Plan - however well intentioned - seemed to be influenced more by the non-transit riders in Andorra rather than taking input from people in Manayunk, Roxborough, AND Andorra.

And don't even get me started on the plans to reduce weekend service to West Chester on the 104. That would probably take up a couple of pages alone...

Saturday, April 27, 2002

ARCHIVES - 04/27/02

The MCI D4501 Demo will be back on SEPTA property starting on June 5, when SEPTA will begin a full one month testing phase. The bus will be on display at the SEPTA Roadeo on June 8...

The 92/133 continues to be hampered by poor on-time performance. Over the past two weeks, the arrival of the 4:25pm West Chester to Exton trip has been inconsistent at best. On some days - such as yesterday - the trip had to be annulled because the 3:20pm trip to Exton was running upwards of 35-40 minutes late. See, SEPTA, this is why ridership has plummeted on the 92/133. That and the inconsistent connection times at Exton Square Mall.

Friday, April 26, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/26/02

PennDOT recently awarded a $342,000 grant to the Delaware County Planning Department for the rehabilitation of the Sharon Hill station on the R2 Marcus Hook line...

The Flyers assigned to Frankford are starting to pop up around North and Northeast Philadelphia. Lines where the Flyers have been spotted include the 8, 26, 73, 88, K, and R.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

ARCHIVES - 04/23/02

The 118 is starting to see more 40-foot buses in recent days. Whether this means that there's a shortage of ElDorados or if ridership has actually increased is unclear...

Apparently, the former 122 route between Chester and UPS/Tinicum is still running, but not by SEPTA. Krapf's is apparently operating the exact same schedule over the exact same route as SEPTA's former 122. I'm surprised that Ron Koran and his UTU 1594 guys haven't filed a grievance, because is sounds to me like collusion between SEPTA and the non-union Krapf's?

Remember the hell that broke loose when SEPTA split up the Fox Chase-Newtown Shuttle - which was running out of Comly at the time - into two routes (301 and 302) and contracted out to Lion Corporation? TWU 234 successfully filed a grievance against SEPTA, forcing the 301 and 302 into oblivion (but not before ridership was virtually non-existent). The final month of 301/302 service was operated by Midvale drivers using cutaways from Frontier.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

ARCHIVES - 04/21/02

Some more route swaps are in the works in Northeast Philadelphia this summer. The 73 will be moved from Frankford to Comly, a swap that will also see about 10 operators transferred to Comly. The 26 is still slated to move from Frankford to Midvale as will all 54 trips presently assigned to Frankford. The 1 and R trips from Frankford will remain where they are for now. There was talk of moving the 8 from Frankford to Allegheny, but that didn't pan out...

When the summer pick takes effect in June, some buses will be moved from Frankford to Comly. There are some structural issues at Comly Depot, however. Bay 1 at Comly is encountering some sinking, which may force some buses to be parked on Bustleton Av. Also, the a/c unit in the operators area is not working properly...

The training of Frankford operators on the New Flyers is nearly 85% complete. Within the next 2-3 weeks, Comly operators will begin training on the New Flyers, most likely borrowing a couple of Flyers from Frankford...

On Sundays, there are three non-stop express trips via the Frankford Av express routing between Franklin Mills and Frankford Terminal - 3 AM trips to Franklin Mills and 3 PM trips to Frankford Terminal. Apparently, these trips were added recently and do not appear on the schedule. One of the PM trips departs Franklin Mills at 4:20pm; I haven't been able to confirm the other departure times.

Friday, April 19, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/19/02

Midvale 3303 was involved in an accident at Front and Erie early this morning. About 10 people were injured as the 56 bus apparently struck a pole, downing wires and disrupting traffic in that area...

The 1:25pm and 1:40pm 104 trips to 69 St Terminal were delayed leaving West Chester due to a funeral procession accompanied by a police escort. The 5 block long procession went eastbound on Market St and West Chester Pike at around 1:30pm, also delaying the 1:35pm 119 to Chester and the 1:20pm 92 to Exton.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/16/02

El service between 5 St and 30 St stations was suspended during the PM peak period due to police activity - most likely a suspicious package - found at the 19 St Subway-Surface station. Subway-Surface routes were reportedly on diversion, however, I haven't been able to confirm this item...

The 5500-series New Flyers are starting to hit the road. Yesterday, 5503 was seen - with bike rack installed - on the 88 in Northeast Philadelphia. From what I have heard, the 5500s at Frankford will probably be used on most - if not all - routes operating from that depot. And yes, that would include the 3, despite some tricky clearances around Front and Kensington.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/12/02 & 4/14/02

April 14, 2002

Assuming I'm reading the notice at the SEPTA web site correctly, it appears that the entire Market-Frankford El will be using shuttle buses next weekend. As if confusion on one side of the line wasn't bad enough, do we really need confusion on both sides of the El?

April 12, 2002

Bus service in Lansdowne was substantially delayed for about a half hour on Thursday due to an accident on Lansdowne Av in front of the Wawa. Some 109, 113 and 115 buses were impacted as they were forced to detour around the accident scene...

Wednesday was an even stranger day for Red Arrow bus assignments. Two 113 Darby short-turn trips - the 3:15pm and 3:45pm - saw ElDorados instead of 40-ft buses. For two straight days, an early morning 108 short-turn to 67 St/Elmwood Av saw an ElDorado...

West end El service will see shuttle buses for the next four weekends. Expect to see a slew of Callowhill low floors, Southern Neos, and Allegheny artics, with an occasional bus from Midvale tossed in for good measure.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/9/02 & 4/10/02

April 10, 2002

The 5500-series New Flyers are starting to arrive at Wyoming shops. As noted in recent weeks, the first 45 of these buses will be delivered to Frankford, after the fleet numbers are applied to the roof and the radio and farebox are installed.

April 9, 2002

SEPTA is in the process of accepting bids for 86 recently retired Neoplans. With the next wave of mass Neo retirements coming soon upon the arrival of the 5500-series New Flyers, it looks as though they're going to need a little more room at Midvale and Frontier scrap yards...

SEPTA's Capital Budget plan is now on-line at the official SEPTA web site. It seems as though the proposed extension of the R3 from Elwyn to Wawa is in a holding pattern while SEPTA holds it's hands out for big bucks for the "Schuylkill Valley Metro" project (assuming they can avoid the whammy - you have to be a fan of the TV quiz show "Press Your Luck" to get this joke).

Friday, April 05, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/5/02

Frontier schedules will change on Monday, April 8. The following are some highlights of the new schedules:
  • ROUTE 92: The 9:50pm trip from Exton Square Mall to West Chester University now departs 5 minutes later.
  • ROUTE 94: The weekday 7:05am and 9:05am Express trips from Montgomery Mall to Chestnut HIll will depart 5 minutes later; the 2:20pm weekday express trip from Chestnut Hill to Montgomery Mall will depart 10 minutes later.
  • ROUTE 95: Three new weekday round trips will depart Penn Square at 7:10pm, 8:10pm and 9:10pm, and depart Gulph Mills at 8:20pm, 9:20pm, and 10:20pm; three Saturday round trips will depart Penn Square at 7:30pm, 8:30pm, and 9:30pm, and depart Gulph Mills at 8:30pm, 9:30pm, and 10:30pm. The Saturday times at Gulph Mills are coordinated to meet P&W trains.
  • ROUTE 98: The Saturday 7:28pm trip from Plymouth Meeting Mall to Norristown arrives at Norristown 1 minute later.
  • ROUTE 99: Major running time adjustments of up to 4-5 minutes throughout the entire schedule; service to Valley Forge Christian College discontinued; the weekday 7:00pm trip to Phoenixville departs Norristown 5 minutes later; the 9:10pm, 10:10pm, and 11:10pm trips from Norristown depart 5 minutes earlier; the weekday 9:05pm and Saturday 9:10pm trips which used to terminate at Valley Forge Christian College are now extended to Limerick Square Shopping Center.
  • ROUTE 127: The three seasonal Oxford Valley to Trenton Express trips via Sesame Place will be added starting in June.
  • ROUTE 130: The weekday 6:35am, 7:35am, and 8:35am departures from Franklin Mills will arrive at timepoints between Neshaminy Mall and Bucks County College 4 minutes later; the 7:22pm weekday departure from Bucks County College to Franklin Mills now departs at 7:30pm.
  • ROUTE 203: Sunday service will resume in June to accomodate later closing times at Sesame Place.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/4/02

Some Route 119 trips were detoured off it's regular routing in West Goshen today after an tractor-trailer went off the off-ramp from US 202/322 South to West Chester Pike. The incident occured at around 12:00pm, causing traffic headaches on 202 for most of the afternoon and early evening. The scene was cleared out shortly after 7:00pm...

That of course was nothing compared to yesterday morning's rush hour, when Baltimore Pike was shut down near the railroad underpass which carries SEPTA's former West Chester Branch. The fatal accident, which occured at around 7:19am, forced the 119 to detour around the scene for most of the day, causing lengthy delays along the way...

Today's bizarre bus sighting: ElDorado 4529 operating on Route 99 (909 block) on the 4:00pm trip to Pottstown. I can't recall Frontier ever running an ElDorado on it's King of Prussia short turns, much less all the way out to Pottstown.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/2/02

The password today is ... detour. Several bus routes in South Philadelphia and the City of Chester are detoured today due to various fires and presidential motorcades. A major fire in Southwest Philadelphia in the area of Essington Av is forcing all G and 37 buses off of the Passyunk Av Bridge and via Eastwick, 49 St, Paschall, Grays Ferry, 34 St, and I-76. Those riders who normally take the G or 37 can expect an added 5-10 minutes travel time until the fire is under control. The smoke from the fire travelled as far west as Lindbergh Blvd...

A fire at 6 & Madison Sts in the City of Chester disrupted R2 Wilmington and Acela trains earlier this afternoon. Route 113 is being diverted around the fire scene. Shuttle buses operated for a brief while during the mid-afternoon between Crum Lynne and Wilmington on the R2 line...

President Bush's visit to Penn State-DelCo caused delays around the Chester Transportation Center and on Routes 110, 116, 117, and 119, particularly around the Granite Run Mall area.

ARCHIVES - 4/7/02

A few interesting observations from Frankford Terminal:

  • On the El Shuttle, only a handful of 8700s and 8800s were used today, including 8710, 8772, and 8849. Mostly Southern Neos, Frankford Neos, and Midvale artics and Neos on the local trips, with Allegheny covering the express trips as usual.
  • SEPTA seems to be slipping when it comes to inspecting supervisor cars. SUR6393 was spotted at 15 & Market Sts sporting inspection and emission stickers dated "03/02".
    The front sign on Midvale 7202 correctly read "EL SHUTTLE - FRANKFORD TERMINAL" but the side sign read "12 5th-MARKET".
  • SEPTA Police briefly detained a suspect on Frankford Av near Wissinoming Park stemming from an incident on board a northbound 66 trackless at Frankford Terminal. That by itself isn't newsworthy, but the officers were patrolling in a private car presumably owned by one of the officers on duty (even more noteworthy was that the car being used had New Jersey tags). And before people start suggesting this was part of an undercover sting, the three officers involved in the investigation were in full uniform. Does this mean that SEPTA Police are now in a vehicle shortage? Suppose the officer's car gets into an accident in which the other driver is at fault. The officer would certainly have grounds to file a complaint against SEPTA.

Monday, April 01, 2002

ARCHIVES - 4/1/02

Route 101 trolley service is only operating as far as Woodland Av/Springfield at least through tomorrow afternoon. A large tree took out about 2,000 feet of catenary north of Pine Ridge station. Shuttle buses are operating between Woodland Av and Bowling Green, as trolley service from Bowling Green to Orange St/Media will operate. At least that was the plan, however buses were operating along State St in Media as of 5:00pm. The shuttle buses are operating via Woodland Av, Powell Rd, Thomson Av, Sproul Rd, Springfield Mall, Baltimore Pike, Providence Rd and State St to State & Orange.

Route 101 riders who normally park at either Bowling Green or Pine Ridge can use the commuter parking lot at Springfield Mall (this is the parking lot adjacent to the corner of Sproul Road and Baltimore Pike near the main entrance; the lot itself is behind the bus shelters). Route 101 passengers who travel to stations between Springfield Mall and Media can take Route 110 Local service. Route 101 passengers who travel between Fairfield Av and Drexel Hill Jct en route to Springfield Mall can take Route 102 to Baltimore Pike station, then transfer to Route 109. Passengers who normally take Route 101 to Springfield Mall from 69 St Terminal can take Route 109 or Route 110 Local service.