Wednesday, August 28, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/28/02

Schedules will change on all City Division routes and on Red Arrow route 108 on Sunday. As part of the schedule change, trolleys will return to the full 36 route after a 3 month rail rehab project. The changes in Andorra approved as part of the Annual Service Plan will also take effect on Sunday (on a side note, the 35 timetable is no longer a simple schedule card, but a regular timetable like nearly all other SEPTA bus routes). Additionally, more routes have been added to the wheelchair accessible route network, and all routes will be wheelchair accessible on weekends and holidays. More details will be posted within the next few days.

As of yesterday, new CTD timetables were available at 1234 Market for all routes, except for the 58, 108, and L. As Suburban Station, the June timetables for the Red Arrow routes were still in the schedule racks, despite the fact that the new schedules have been in effect for the past two weeks. Timetables for several Northeast Philadelphia routes are also available at Frankford Terminal's Frankford Av/Bridge St headhouse near the El entrance and info booth.

SEPTA is starting to add the CARD system radio control panels on buses operating out of Frontier, Comly, and Frankford. Within the next few weeks, Red Arrow should have their new radios installed. Isn't it odd that in most cases, the suburban depots are at the end of the line when it comes to equipment upgrades?

A public meeting to discuss the proposed P&W extension to King of Prussia and Port Kennedy is scheduled for September 19 at 7:00pm. The hearing will take place at the Holiday Inn/King of Prussia, Wanamaker Room A, located at 260 Mall Blvd in Upper Merion, across the street from the mall.

A public hearing to make the Route 94 Express routing changes to serve the Abramson Center for Jewish Life (formerly known as the Philadelphia Geriatric Center) will take place at the Abramson Center, located at 1425 Horsham Rd, Montgomery Twp. The October 2 hearing will begin at 10:00am, mainly to accomodate the employees of the Abramson Center, since the last AM bus from Chestnut Hill arrives there at 8:36am, with the last bus from Montgomery Mall arriving at 9:25am.

West Chester University isn't the only major university to see improved transit access this fall. Starting on Saturday, NJ Transit's 412 bus will be re-routed to serve Rowan University in Glassboro.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/24/02

Late night service on the 104 was impacted following a serious assault in West Chester on Thursday night. The 11:00pm to 69 St Terminal was held by West Chester Police at Market & Worthington Sts after a black male passenger literally threw a hispanic male passenger off 5307 (4232 block) at around 11:10pm. The two passengers boarded the bus a few blocks earlier at Market & Matlack. The victim was transported to Chester County Hospital; the suspect was arrested about two blocks away after attempting to flee the scene.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/21/02

Just another fun day on West Chester Pike yesterday, as traffic was detoured in Havertown due to an accident east of the former Mercy Haverford Hospital. The incident occured at around 6:45pm yesterday. At least one bus was unable to complete it's run, while others were stuck in traffic for about 1 mile, stretching back to the Blue Route interchange.

And then, there was yesterday's incident on the 2:45pm 104 to 69 St Terminal (Bus 3235/4244 block). For the second straight day, according to a couple of passengers, that particular trip was overcrowded to the point of hazardous, as passengers were standing in the front doorway, while other standees refused to move to the back of the bus. The incident reached a head when the bus operated through Havertown as an arguement and near brawl broke out. Four SEPTA police officers were at the platform when 3235 arrived and fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, with no arrests coming out of it.

Adding to the confusion on the 104, is that the 6:35pm trip to West Chester that was listed as an express is actually a local trip, thanks to a "mistake" by scheduling. Hmmm, the run sheets printed out before the schedule change say express, the timetable says express, but the 6:35pm is a local? Just another day in the life of the geniuses at 1234 Market.

Monday, August 19, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/19/02

As a follow up to the controversy over the 115 extension through Norwood, SEPTA held a public meeting on August 7, bringing an ElDorado to the meeting for display purposes, mainly to alleviate concerns from residents about what kind of bus would be used on the line. During the meeting, some angry residents went so far as to threaten to throw rocks at the buses as they passed by on Winona Av. According to some sources, the Norwood Borough officials at the meeting didn't seem to discourage that idea. When the meeting ended, the tires on the bus were slashed. The suspects were not caught, and apparently, Norwood Police couldn't be bothered to investigate. Additionally, residents have posted home-made signs along some streets in Norwood which could pass as official government issued signs. (I have yet to see said signs, but that wouldn't really surprise me.)

An added thumbs down goes to Pa. State Rep. Ron C. Raymond (R-162) for backing the residents of Norwood in the fight against extending the 115. While foolishly backing the borough's actions, Raymond may have suffered a bit of a brain lock. His actions basically was a slap in the face to his other constituents in the 162 District, including those living in Darby Borough, Collingdale, Sharon Hill, and Folcroft - all of which are in the 162 District (as is Glenolden, where MacDade Mall is located, though I'm not sure if that part of Glenolden is in the 162 or 163 House District).

If anybody wants to protest Rep. Raymond's short-sighted actions against the Route 115 extension, you can send snail mail to:

District Office:
The Hon. Ron C. Raymond
1337 Chester Pike
Sharon Hill, PA 19079

Capitol Address:
The Hon. Ron C. Raymond
Room 209
Ryan Office Bldg
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2020

You can also call Rep. Raymond's office in Sharon Hill (610-534-1002) or Harrisburg (717-787-3742).

On a more service related note, subway-surface cars were diverted during the mid-day due to overhead problems. In an unusual tactic, the 10, 11, and shortened 36 were diverted to the 40 St El station as per normal diversion, however, the 13 and 34 operated to the 40 St Portal, where passengers were forced to board buses between 40 St Portal and 40 St El Station. Reportedly, there are some power issues (electrical, not political - we hope) that prevented all five lines from operating over the diversion route. Either that, or Rep. Raymond got involved...

Meanwhile, the new Red Arrow changes went into effect today. There were few problems observed, except for the 111 operator en route to Chadds Ford on the 4:00pm departure from 69 St (4453 block, though I don't recall of the very top of my head) who bypassed Penn State completely after leaving Riddle Hospital, and had to backtrack to Penn State after serving Franklin Mint first. The end result was a 20 minute delay arriving into Chadds Ford, resulting in a barely made connection with the last 314 bus back to West Chester.

Between the X-Games at the First Union Complex and the Phillies game at Veterans Stadium on Sunday, approximately 100,000 people were around the Sports Complex in South Philadelphia. Shuttle buses between the Navy Yard and First Union Complex (buses were signed "FIRST UNION SPECTRUM") were mainly Neo artics (half from Midvale with 312x blocks, half from Allegheny with 525x blocks, and Southern 5494 tossed in for good measure). Passengers boarded and alighted from the inner lanes on Broad St at Pattison. From brief observation after the Phillies game (okay, after the 6th inning), the artics were running about every 5 minutes, with standing loads in both directions.

On the Broad Street Line side, service wasn't quite as good. At around 4:45pm, when the ball game ended, there was about a 10-15 minute wait for trains to even arrive at Pattison Station. The platform was crowded and continued to fill until the next Fern Rock local arrived at 5:02pm. One would think that SEPTA could run 6 car trains on the Broad St Line or schedule trains every 6-8 minutes instead of tossing a couple of extra trains here and there over a 10 minute headway, but SEPTA doesn't seem to have that much foresight. (Yet another arguement for express buses from outlying areas to the sports complex, a la Baltimore.)

Thursday, August 15, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/15/02

Market-Frankford El service was disrupted between 52 St and Spring Garden after an unknown substance forced work crews to clean up the westbound tracks, casuing massive delays during the AM peak period. Service was restored at around 10:00am.

The proposed extension of the 115 from Delmar Village to MacDade Mall via Norwood is on hold for at least 3 months due to opposition from residents in Norwood. The complaints stem from SEPTA's failure to notify Norwood Borough officials about the extended 115 routing along Winona Av. Service was to have begun on Monday, with weekday and Saturday service operating to MacDade Mall. New timetables will be issued soon. Service between Ardmore and Brookline will still be eliminated, however.

Several SEPTA employees were distributing new timetables and brochures featuring the new changes on the 103, 104, 110, 111, and new route 122 today. New timetables are slowly being distributed at 1234 Market, Chester TC, and 69 St Terminal. This is highly unusual, since SEPTA was notorious for not releasing the timetables until a day or two before schedules change.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/13/02

The 33 and 61 buses were detoured off of Ridge Av between Cecil B Moore and Oxford for most of the day due to a TV crew filming in the area.

The 92, 104, 119, and 314 buses encountered lengthy detours and delays after a bomb threat at the First Union bank on S High St in West Chester. As a result of the threat, High St between Market and Chestnut and Gay St between Matlack and Church were closed.

Speed restrictions imposed by CSX will be in effect on the R3 West Trenton line north of Neshaminy Falls due to the excessive heat conditions. The R3 operates over CSX trackage north of Neshaminy Falls to West Trenton. Expect trains on this segment of the West Trenton line to run about 10-15 minutes late.

A downed wire just before Elm St station is forcing shuttle bus operation between Norristown Transportation Center, Main St, and Elm St stations.

Monday, August 05, 2002

ARCHIVES - 08/05/02

The TMA of Chester County re-routed it's Phoenixville Phlyer bus service last week. The Phlyer will now operate between the new Main Street at Exton complex and Phoenixville via Lionville and Chester Springs, rather than the old routing via Great Valley.

In concert with the Phlyer route changes, the weekday schedule has also been adjusted. There are now 7 trips from Phoenixville to Exton (3 AM peak, 2 mid-day, and 2 evening trips) and 6 trips from Exton to Phoenixville (1 late morning, 1 mid-day, 2 PM peak, and 2 evening trips).

SEPTA service has been adversely impacted due to the recent heat wave. The bulk of the delays have occured on the Regional Rail system, with speed restrictions often in place due to the heat. With temperatures falling tonight, service should improve.