Tuesday, December 23, 2003


The City Avenue Regional Transit shuttle bus (CART), managed by the City Avenue Special Services District and the Greater Valley Forge TMA, and operated by Krapf's, was recently discontinued. The last day of service for the CART bus was December 13. CART was funded in part by a CMAQ grant which recently expired. One of the reasons cited by the CASSD for the ending of CART was a lack of funding support from Manayunk. Somehow, you just knew the service would be a failure, considering the duplicating service along City Av (1, 44, 65) and along Ridge Av in Manayunk (35, 61).

Monday, December 22, 2003


Just when you thought SETPA couldn't reach any new lows, today's incident at 13 St station proves to be another embarassment for an agency that has a history of ignoring safety issues.

Shortly before 1:00pm, a westbound El train was held at 13 St station because of a medical emergency. A young woman was reportedly found unconsious and seated in car #1073. SEPTA Police and Philadelphia Fire medics responded. The victim was revived and taken to a local hospital. Yet...

A witness at the scene reported that she saw the victim in the same seat when she boarded at Bridge-Pratt at 6:30am. At least one or two other passengers verified her account. The amazing thing is that if the witness' story is correct - and quite frankly, as adamant as she was about what she saw, I found it to be credible - how was it that nobody discovered her for nearly 6 1/2 hours?

Making things more complicated, the witness claimed that she tried to tell SEPTA Police at the scene about what she saw and was reportedly ignored. From my personal observation at the scene, the officer rude towards witnesses who were trying to provide information. I can sort of understand his reaction (after all, a woman was probably near death), but still, this was beyond unprofessional, and in most cases could be considered a fireable offense. Yet, given the way unions are in Philadelphia, you have a better chance of dating Paris Hilton than you do of removing an unprofessional front line employee from his/her position.

Getting back to the issue of cleaners who are supposed to check trains at Bridge-Pratt and 69 St Terminals. I've heard through the grapevine that some of those positions may have fallen victim to the budget ax. In recent observations, I've noted fewer cleaners checking trains after runs. A couple of train operators I've spoken to recently confirm this. Still, shouldn't somebody be checking these trains after they arrive at terminals to make sure everybody is off? Or would that make too much sense for SEPTA to comprehend.

And while I'm mentioning this, could you imagine the outcry from the public if the press picked up on this story? And could you imagine what would've happened if the victim died? Did somebody say "major lawsuit?"


The current collective bargaining agreement between SEPTA and TWU Local 234's City Transit Division employees is set to expire on March 15, 2004. As can be expected, negotiations are expected to be rough. So, to say that the suits at 1234 Market would love to see dissention within the union is an understatement. Well, they may be getting their wish...

According to a flyer posted in plain sight at one of the El cashier booths, TWU Local 234 President Jean Alexander has reportedly been suspended from her position of the second time this year. Below is the text of the message (emphasis from the flyer):

Five months before our contract, the E-Board suspended the president for a second time.

The personal infighting between Jean Alexander and Tom Casey on the E-Board has once again made our local the laughing stock of the City.

We the members of the Local should have the right to know the reasoning for such disruptive action this close to our contract.

These along with many other questions should be asked at a Mass membership meeting.

Our members have the right to know what's going on instead of being spoon-fed information.

This infighting makes us weak and SEPTA management loves these theatric (sic). They are waiting at 1234 Market scratching their empty heads in anticipation of taking everything from us during contract talks in March 2004.

We as union members can not let this happen.

Let's send a clear message to our Union leaders that the priority is our membership not personal infighting between Jean and Casey.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, things are going to get ugly over the next three months. Whether the ugliness is between the TWU and SEPTA or from within the TWU remains to be seen at this point. In the meantime, now may be a good time to invest in some decent pairs of walking shoes or other sneakers.

If case you missed it, the Iggles gave away home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs, thanks to an anemic 31-28 overtime loss to San Francisco in South Philly yesterday. It certainly didn't help that David Akers missed 2 field goals (blame the wind for the first miss, blame Akers for the second), nor that Freddie Mitchell did a fine impression of a statue in overtime on that interception which all but ended the game, nor that the defense couldn't stop the 49ers running game, nor that Donovan McNabb had a lowsy game (no thanks to the porous blocking by the "offensive" line), nor that ... well you get the picture.

Oh, and in between the mourning period for the Iggles Super Bowl chances, the 76ers blew a 12 point 4th quarter lead in a loss to the hated Boston Celtics.

And the Flyers didn't bother showing up in Atlanta last night, losing to the Thrashers 4-1.

Thank god for St. Joseph's win over Cal-Berkley on Saturday night...

Let's just say that this was not a great day to be a Philadelphia sports fan, and leave it at that. Let's just say that I'm not in a particularly good mood...

And now, in transit related news...


Washington Twp MCI 8000, working an Atlantic City to Philadelphia 551 trip was the subject of an alleged bomb threat last night.

According to the Cherry Hill Courier Post:

Pennsylvania State Police received a call at about 4 p.m. from someone who claimed a man aboard the bus had 60 sticks of dynamite strapped to him. The call came in while the bus was on the Atlantic City Expressway, police said.

I certainly realize that transit agencies are going to take threats of this nature seriously, and that's good. Yet, shouldn't a couple of red flags have gone up when PENNSYLVANIA State Police are notified about a potential incident in New Jersey? Unless there was some misdirection from the cell phone (which is possible, depending on how close the caller was to Pennsylvania - I've called 911 on a cell phone near county boundaries and would occasionally be misdirected), how does a threat in New Jersey end up getting called in to Pennsylvania? Anyway...

The New Jersey State Police, NJ Transit police, Camden police, Camden County Sheriff's officers, and FBI agents escorted the bus to the Campbell's Field ballpark. By 7:00pm, a second bus was dispatched to take the remaining passengers back to Philadelphia. State Police are investigating.

Side-bar: It's a well known fact that the Cherry Hill Courier Post has long been a critic of the proposed River Line, but it appears this reporter didn't even bother to determine that this was a 551 bus. From the article:

It was unclear where the bus originated or where it was headed.

Based on a picture in today's Philadelphia Daily News, and the fact that the bus was on the Atlantic City Expressway, it's would be safe to assume that it was in fact a 551 en route to Philadelphia.


Amid much fanfare, SEPTA announced a plan to renovate the Croydon train station. The Inquirer reported that several big shots, including U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Bucks) and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R in name only-Pa.) were among the dignitaries who presented SEPTA $3.5 million for renovations to the station. Both Fearless Leader and SEPTA Board Chairman "Don Pasquale" were also among the big shots who attended the ceremony, which seemed to be designed as much for the awarding of this funding as it was for Specter's re-election campaign.

Improvements to the station would include rehabbing the station shelters, increasing parking, and add trailblazer signs. The Croydon rehab will most likely be timed in conjunction with the rehab project at Levittown.

Interesting how elected officials are scarce when SEPTA plans projects in certain suburban areas, isn't it? Of course, Bucks County is Don Pasquale's home turf, so it's somewhat understandable that he wants to improve his standing among the hacks at Doylestown Courthouse.

And, yes, Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney was quoted in this article (you can tell that I don't trust him, can't you?):

Improvements would also allow buses to enter the station. The improved train-to-bus connection is important, SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said, because intermodal transportation is a big attraction for riders who depend on buses to take them to trains, trolleys and subways. SEPTA, he said, is the largest intermodal transportation operation in North America, and attempts are being made to provide the complete package in the expanding suburbs - including Bucks County, where 600,000 people live.

The largest intermodal transportation operation in North America? You mean to tell me that SEPTA is even bigger than NJ Transit or the Toronto Transportation Commission? Do you mind if I laugh?

Incidentially, some local pols weren't to thrilled at being left out of the limelight:

Yesterday's event took place without any Bristol Township officials in attendance. Council President Karen Lipsack said she found out about the federal financing after the announcement.

"It's a wonderful project," she said. "But political etiquette requires that you tell someone in the township. I find that in very poor taste."

Hmmm, let's review, shall we? Here are the three big names attending the ceremony that we could confirm from the article.

SEPTA Board Chairman "Don" Pasquale T. Deon, Sr.: Republican
Congressman James Greenwood: Republican
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter: Republican

As best as I can tell, here is a listing of Bristol Township elected officials and their party affiliations:

Mayor Samuel J. Fenton: Democrat
Council President Karen Lipsack: Democrat
Council Vice President: Ken Balcom: Democrat
Councilman Donald Lorady: Democrat
Councilman John Monahan: Democrat
Councilman Ken Worthington: Democrat

Do the math. At the very least, SEPTA owed the township a courtesy phone call to let them know about this event. Bad taste? That's an understatement, but unfortunately, for SEPTA, it's par for the course.


Former SEPTA Board Vice Chairman Richard Voith wrote a very interesting op-ed piece in today's Daily News, taking SEPTA to task for doing a poor job providing schedule information at bus stops. And Voith is in a position to know about the inner workings of SEPTA, having been City Council's appointee to the SEPTA Board before being replaced by Christian (son of Councilman Frank) DiCicco. Voith, by the way, was highly regarded as being responsive to his constituents, and to this day, is still missed on the board. I don't think it's a coincidence that the professionalism of the board has disintigrated since he left and was replaced by "Don" Pasquale.

Sunday, December 21, 2003


In today's Inquirer, Jere Downs reports on an issue that has become a hot topic at SEPTA Board meetings over the past three months: the abysmal on-time performance of SEPTA's Regional Rail system.

"There is a belief we don't care," said Richard J. Hanratty, SEPTA's Regional Rail chief. "The truth is, we have always cared, but we were reacting to trains on a day-to-day basis. We didn't know how bad it was."

Right. Color me sceptical, but when on-time performance is below 90 percent for nearly 19 months, that tends to tell me that SEPTA is just now getting around to fixing the problem.

There is also a searchable chart to let people know how good or bad a particular train's on-time performance rates.

On a related note, sparks flew at last Thursday's board meeting between BLE rep Tom Dorricott and SEPTA's AGM for Operations Pat Nowakowski. It was probably one of the harshest exchanges observed at SEPTA meetings in a long time. To make a long story short, Dorricott essentially accused Nowakowski of lying about the recent on-time performance of a couple of R3 trains. Despite Dorricott's detailed explaination as to why his particular run was constantly late, Nowakowski insisted that the trains were on-time at Suburban Station, which seems to be the only thing that matters. Remember that Nowakowski spends most of his time in the ivory towers of 1234 Market...

At the same meeting, DVARP President Don Nigro accused SEPTA of misrepresenting its position on the on-time performance of Metro-North, Long Island Railroad, and NJ Transit rail operations. Nigro accused SEPTA of faulty information and went so far as to call an NJT exec in Newark to catch SEPTA in yet another lie. Nigro has attacked SEPTA's poor on-time performance at the past three meetings, and is obviously getting under the collective skin of Fearless Leader and the puppets who pass themselves off as an impartial board.

Speaking of which, Fearless Leader, in no uncertain terms, reiterated her opposition to creating an AGM for the Regional Rail division. Giving no explaination as to why she is opposed to such a position, Fearless Leader essentially said that the consultants had to "convince her" that it would be a good idea. I could try and offer an possible reason: maintaining the status quo.

Monday, December 08, 2003


Last year, Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky took Wal-Mart to task over the lack of bus shelters at it's Pier 70 store off of Delaware Av. Recently, however, Wal-Mart management beat her to the punch, as a new shelter has been erected, just in time for the winter.

Sunday, December 07, 2003


No matter how hard I try, it's hard to avoid complaining about the 104 on the blog. Once again, service on the 104 today turned into a comedy of errors normally reserved for weekday peak hours...

For starters, 5314, used on the 8:05am departure from West Chester (4215 block) had a damaged window in the rear door. Apparently, nobody bothered to notice initially, since it was sent out for the 9:05am return trip to West Chester (though it appears it was later replaced by 5324).

Then, despite the fact that there have been past bulletin orders prohibiting the use of Neoplans on Red Arrow routes on Sundays, guess what shows up to cover the 12:05pm outbound departure? 3380, which pulled in 8 minutes late off of the 11:05am trip from West Chester. When the operator pulled in, however, instead of pulling up to the berth, he decided to pull in behind a parked 123 bus near the trolley revenue booth. Suffice to say the relief driver - and the frozen passengers - were not thrilled. To make matters worse, 3380 was an absolute dog. The driver had a hell of a time getting the bus to accellerate up the hills along West Chester Pike, espeically at 476 and Edgmont. After leaving 69 St 3 minutes late, the bus lost about 3-4 minutes en route. (Amazingly, I was able to get to my regular bar in time for the opening kickoff of the Iggles beat-down of those Dallas Cow-girls.)

The afternoon blocks weren't much better. 5302, initially covering 4218 block departed from West Chester at 4:05pm, yet lost about 10 minutes en route to 69 St Terminal. You guessed it ... despite the fact that 5302 recently went through VOH, the accelleration sucked. In spite of this, though, 5302 was sent out for the 5:05pm round trip before this genius operator finally decided that it wasn't really a good idea to send out a slow bus for her relief. Sounds like good news, right?

Um, no.

In fact, this is where things get ugly, and fast:

  • 7:03pm: "Genius" arrives into 69 St, though this time, only 8 minutes late. Probably knowing that the next trip has to depart from the center island platform instead of the trolley-side platform, "Genius" promptly drops passengers off at the trolley drop-off point
  • 7:07pm: "Genius" then pulls around and informs the relief driver that the bus is being taken out of service (presumably because it's a slow piece of crap, but the sign wasn't working properly either, as it's frozen on "SEPTA/OFF DUTY") and drives right back to the depot. Apparently, this rocket scientists conveniently forgot to call the control center to request a replacement bus be ready for her relief. Oops...
  • 7:25pm: The relief driver waits tells awaiting 104 passengers - whose collective anger is slowly starting to simmer - that he has to walk down to the depot and get a replacement bus
  • 7:45pm: 5595 finally pulls into the terminal - it also has a defective sign (only this one reads "SEPTA/TAKE NEXT BUS")
  • 7:49pm: The 7:07pm departure to West Chester finally departs 69 St - it's only 42 minutes late. A few people actually think it's the 8:12pm departure leaving way early...
  • 8:05pm: Scheduled to arrive at 7:17pm, the 104 arrives at Eagle Rd. Somehow, we've managed to lose 6 minutes since departing
  • 8:06pm: For reasons only he (and probably Bill Parcells) knows, the operator stops the bus to look for something in his bag at Glendale Rd
  • 8:20pm: Between Eagle Rd and Newtown Square, we have managed to lose 4 more minutes. Did I mention that this is the normal slow-poke driver who covers 4218 block on Sundays?
  • 8:31pm: Amazingly enough, we make up 3 minutes as we arrive at PA 352 in Westtown.
  • 8:46pm: Yet another stop to search his bag, this time at High and Union Sts in West Chester. You think it could wait about 2 minutes when he gets to the end of the line?
  • 8:48pm: 49 minutes after departing 69 St Terminal, the 7:12pm 104 to West Chester finally arrives. This bozo must be getting paid by the minute.
  • 8:50pm: 5595 finally starts back to 69 St; this was supposed to be the 8:05pm departure. Departing 45 minutes late. Estimated arrival time (which was supposed to be 8:54pm): 9:45pm. Ye gods...
  • 8:59pm: 5402 (4219 block) arrives 2 minutes early.
  • 9:05pm: The scheduled return to 69 St departs on-time. That should be a fun trip, eh?

Now, could someone please explain to me why "Genius" didn't bother to call the control center BEFORE arriving at 69 St? At least her relief could've had his bus ready to roll out on-time (but probably arrive in West Chester 10 minutes late). And why did it take 15-20 minutes for the relief operator to finally figure out that he had to pick-up his replacement bus? And is there any reason why a white-shirt was nowhere to be found? (Okay, I know it's Sunday, but it would make sense to have some supervison on the road at Red Arrow, right? Oops, what was I thinking?)

Yup. Just another wonderful series of mis-adventures on the 104. It's living proof that stupidity doesn't take weekends off...

Follow-up: An accident at Market and Bolmar (near Dunkin Donuts) forced the 104 to divert via Chester County Hospital and US 202/322 last night. The accident was reported shortly before 9:00pm, adding to an already stressful commute for riders waiting for the 8:05pm West Chester to 69 St trip. (Posted 8 Dec 03, 9:50pm)

Friday, December 05, 2003


This time, it's not SEPTA's fault...

Downed wires near Zoo Interlocking is causing 15-20 minute delays for R5 inbound trains from Paoli and Thorndale. The delays have been ongoing since yesterday.


Nothing like a little snow to throw a commute into chaos.

This time around, though, SEPTA seems to have finally decided to list specific weather realted detour routings. As of 3:00pm today, the 6, 35, and 55 are on diversion due to the weather. The 6 is operating a minor diversion via Limekiln heading northbound. The 35 has always avoided Manayunk due to the steep hills along the line, and is operating via Ridge Av between Andorra and Wissahickon Loop. The 55 off of Old York Rd onto Broad St between Olney Av and 65 Av.

Well, it's progress, anyway.

On a related note, the West Chester Christmas Parade has been cancelled, and will not be rescheduled. However, there may be minor delays on the 104 on Sunday as the annual Brian's Run charity race is slated to start shortly after 1:00pm. Rosedale Av and High St will be blocked off, meaning the 1:05pm 104 from West Chester to 69 St may be delayed or forced to cut back to New St/Market St in downtown West Chester.

That is, weather permitting, of course...

Thursday, December 04, 2003


A four-alarm fire in the Nicetown section of the city forced the suspension of service along the R8 Chestnut Hill West line for nearly three hours yesterday. At around 1:00pm, a fire broke out at the Pennock Wholesale Florists warehouse at on Stokely St near Roberts Av. Because firefighters had to stretch hoses across the R8 Chestnut Hill West line tracks, SEPTA was forced to run a bus-bridge between Wayne Jct and Chestnut Hill West. R8 Fox Chase service was not directly impacted by the fire. Normal service was restored by 4:00pm.


In a tradition as annoying as an Andy Reid press conference, West Chester Borough will be having it's annual Christmas Parade tomorrow night, unless Mother Nature has other plans...

Assuming the parade will go on - which is doubtful, considering the forecast is for between 3 to 5 inches of snow between now and Saturday night - both Gay and Market Sts will be closed from 5:00pm until 10:00pm. If the Halloween parade is any indication, Frontier management will be posting signs along the affected route directing passengers to alternate boarding locations, while Red Arrow probably won't - despite repeated notifications to SEPTA about the closings. In any case, if the parade goes on, expect major delays on the 104 along West Chester Pike, and to the 133 between Exton and King of Prussia.

Oh, did I mention that we're supposed to get our first significant snowfall of the year this weekend? As such, SEPTA issued a press release whose opening paragraphs seem to have been written by Dave Barry rather than SEPTA's Ministry of Mis-Information. Don't believe me? Just check out this opening paragraph:

Mother Nature and Old Man Winter have never been a twosome interested in keeping their affairs discreet, so once again the pair is planning a very public visit to the Greater Philadelphia region.

But this relationship is far from hot and steamy.

With forecasters predicting the season’s first significant snow accumulation from this frosty duo, SEPTA is taking steps to prepare for the approaching storm.

Great. Any day now, I'd expect some supermarket tabloid will probably offer Richard Maloney a job as a copy writer (and if dishonesty is a qualification, he might just be at the top of the list). Perhaps if SEPTA could do what they did a few years ago - which was issue a map showing alternate routes for several key routes within Philadelphia instead of wasting time writing "poetry" that passes off as a press release, it might be just a bit more useful.


Staring on Sunday, the 64 will be re-routed in two locations:

Along Washington Av, the 64 will no longer turn down S 11 St to reach Federal St, but instead turn down Broad St to Federal, then via Federal to 16 St and Washington.

In the Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia, the 64 will be re-routed along 48 St instead of 46 St between Haverford and Westminster. Sounds like either somebody along 46 St raised a stink about buses running down that street, or somebody along 48 St wasn't too thrilled about having to catch the bus two blocks away. In any case, it'll be interesting to see what the spin is about the Mill Creek re-routing.


Isn't it interesting how SEPTA has yet to post notices re: the 115 hearing later this month in Glenolden at the web site or on any Red Arrow buses? That tends to tell me that either SEPTA is not holding the hearing at all (though that doesn't explain how I still got a packet from Service Planning regarding the December 23 hearing), or someone responsible for the web site forgot to post it. Or, perhaps, they didn't want to draw the attention of people in Ardmore who lost their bus service last year.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


SEPTA Police arrested a 17-year-old West Philadelphia boy following a series of thefts along the El. The Daily News reports that the teenager, who was not identified by due to his age, was captured following a sting operation at 60 St station in West Philadelphia, shortly after 1:30am Monday morning. The suspect will face charges of burglary, possession of an instrument of crime (he was caught with a tire iron and a screwdriver, along with a set of SEPTA-issued keys), criminal mischief, and trespassing. An adult accomplice is still at large, having escaped while the teen was arrested.

Lt. Michael Chitwood of the Philadelphia Police Southwest Detectives bureau reported that the suspects had allegedly stolen $371 from the 63 St station before they were caught at 60 St.

Police are investigating whether or not the two suspects were involved in a series of thefts along the El on November 24, which occured at 11 St, 15 St, Spring Garden, and York-Dauphin.

SEPTA also reported a rash of thefts over the summer, however, SEPTA's Minister of Mis-information Richard Maloney didn't elaborate (as usual). (Just wondering: Why is it that SEPTA is just now getting around to mentioning this item? Was this something that SEPTA wanted to cover up, or are SEPTA Police simply that incompetent? If these suspects were also involved in the summer thefts, why didn't SEPTA act sooner to take them off the streets?)

This also raises the question: How did two thiefs manage to obtain a set of SEPTA-issued keys in order to allegedly commit these crimes? Could the accomplice be a disgruntled former SEPTA employee (or for that matter, a current SEPTA employee)? Could a SEPTA employee - possibly in the revenue collection department - have been lax in securing his/her keys? Or, could they have impersonated a SEPTA employee (which, given how lax security is at certain garages and rail yards, is not that far fetched)?

Monday, December 01, 2003


The Daily Pennsylvanian recently reported that excessive speed was to blame for the September 23 accident where K-Car 9001 slammed into the side of a building at 42 St/Spruce St. 9001 was en route to Yeadon on the 13 shortly after 3:00am when the accident occurred.

SEPTA is presently attempting to reach a settlement with the building owners, which should be a very interesting process, knowing SEPTA's past handling of such matters. Of course, when SEPTA trots out Minister of Mis-information Richard Maloney, you can kind of sense that a reasonable settlement may take some time:

"We're continuing to talk with the property owner for a settlement of the damage costs ... I'm not really sure how much longer it'll take. These things have a tendency to take some time."

No kidding, Minister... Just ask some of the displaced residents who were forced to move as a result of the accident.

"We could file a lawsuit, but we're obviously not going to," (Penn undergrad Tara) Einis said. "Basically we're just trying to get compensated for any differences in fees we might get."

That might not be a bad idea. Nothing gets a stumbling bureaucracy moving like a lawsuit...

Einis said that (property owner) Campus Apartments has been serving as a go-between to possibly obtain reimbursement from SEPTA...

"I guess it's over now," she added. "But I'm not a big fan of those trolleys, I must say."

Well, after one runs into your house, that might not be an unreasonable statement to make...

According to Einis, Campus Apartments "has been amazing" in helping the displaced residents.

"SEPTA's just being bad and Campus Apartments is just being really great," she said, explaining that SEPTA has not paid for any of the expenses incurred from moving after the incident.

Although the rent for the new apartment is higher, Einis said that Campus Apartments is covering the difference.

Campus Apartments "moved us here out of their kindness," she said, adding that Campus Apartments also paid for movers to come help the students relocate.

"The difference in rent is pretty big, and SEPTA is hopefully going to take the difference" eventually, she said.

Very funny, Ms. Einis. This is SEPTA we're talking about. You'd have an easier chance of being named to the CAC than you do of being reimbursed by 1234 Market (without suing, that is).

In addition to the increase in rent, Einis said there are other "little things" that cost more as well and it is these extra costs which have been forced upon her since the crash.

"Out of pocket, we're probably paying $80 more a month," she said, noting that she and her roommate have been forced to use landline phones in their apartment, "because our cell phones don't work here."

"SEPTA said they're going to pay for it but we don't know if they're going to," she said. "SEPTA is a really slow-moving institution."

The last statement should be a candidate for "Understatement of the Year." And it's not just the management either...


So, Chester County is supposed to start building a new parking garage as part of a planned new courthouse complex on the 200 block of West Market. As part of the garage, there is supposed to be a transportation center to allow SEPTA buses to layover off of Market St, and presumably have facilities for SEPTA employees to take breaks (use the restrooms, etc).

To quote ESPN's Lee Corso: "Not so fast, my friends."

The Inquirer reports that SEPTA lawyers are gumming up the works (adding more credibility to Tara Einis' comments about the slow moving culture at 1234 Market). SEPTA's legal staff sent a copy of the proposed lease to the Chester County General Authority (which will manage the garage/transportation center) on November 6, according to spokesman Jim Whitaker.

Retiring Chester County Commissioner and SEPTA Board Member Karen Martynick says that indemficiation and liability issues are two stumbling blocks that are stalling construction, which was to have started earlier this year, with a completion schedule of 10 months. (By contrast, West Chester University's new parking deck at Church and Sharpless Sts was constructed in nearly half as long, however that structure is only 4 stories tall while the new downtown parking deck is supposed to be 7 stories tall.)

"The transit center is essentially a gift to SEPTA," said Martynick, because there will be no fees charged for its use of the facility. "It meets the county's overall goals in terms of access to the justice center."

It's odd that Martynick - who in the past has been cricital of alleged micro-management of day-to-day operations by Don Pasquale - calls the West Chester Transportation Center "a gift to SEPTA" after the way Chester County keeps getting shafted in terms of crappy service over the past few years. On the other hand, it would be nice if the new transportation center also included a fare sales office similar to what's available at other major terminals (Bridge-Pratt, Olney, 69 St, Chester, Norristown among others) so people who live in West Chester don't have to go into the city or to Paoli to buy fare instruments.

That said, it would be nice if SEPTA could try working with Chester County so their project can more forward - and it's price tag can stay within budget. Of course, it would also be nice if pigs could fly, but that's asking too much.


Residents in the Garden City section of Nether Providence Township have been complaining about speeding operators along the 118 line. The Delaware County Daily Times reports that township officials are considering holding a hearing to air out these issues (note: article not available on-line). That may be easier said than done.

One resident reported recieved a letter from Fearless Leader herself, indicating that "SEPTA would not hold a hearing on the subject." That led to this response from township board member Sara Lynn Petrosky:

"The township can hold a hearing, but SEPTA has to make the decision (regarding the bus drivers and the bus route) ... Utlimately, it's SEPTA we have to convince."

Good luck. Trying to get SEPTA to take action on anything is next to impossible.

During that same hearing, John Calnan (whose name was misspelled "Callahan" in the article), SEPTA's point person on suburban routes described the controversy as "a long and thorny issue," noting that changing the routing as several residents had suggested could jeopardize para-transit service in that neighborhood. Despite requests from the township board to have SEPTA re-consider it's decision not to hold a hearing, the article noted "Calnan said all he could do was pass along the request to his bosses."

It seems the biggest issue for people in Garden City is to see SEPTA to take action against operators who are allegedly violating traffic laws. The Daily Times noted that residents of Ryanard Rd and Willow Rd have observed operators speeding and failing to properly stop at stop signs.

"This is a safety issue. These are streets filled with children every day," said Carol Captis, a Willow Rd resident.

(Captis was referring to the Nether Providence Elementary School, which is located on Moore Rd, where the 118 travels between Brookhaven Rd and Media Pkwy.)

While Garden City residents and Nether Providence officials have the right to expect SEPTA to take action, in fairness, a public hearing may not be an appropriate process to resolve this issue. The last time I checked, Nether Providence has its own police department. Did it ever occur to these people that maybe they have to be the ones enforcing the laws? (Case in point: West Whiteland Township police have been cracking down on motorists riding the shoulder along PA 100 approaching the Exton Rail Station and the US 30 Bypass. One of those stopped was a Krapf's Transit bus, so it's not like transit operators are getting a free pass in Exton.)

At the same time, it might not be a bad idea for agents from the Inspector General's office or plainclothes SEPTA police officers to observe the operators along the 118 to make sure they're following the traffic laws.

Perhaps if the Nether Providence police started cracking down on reckless driving by operators, that might serve as more of a wake-up call to SEPTA operators instead of allowing township officals to take a page out of the Philadelhphia City Council playbook and stage a hearing for the sake of grandstanding.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


The next two weekends will prove to be very interesting for South Jersey commuters, as several bus routes will be on detour due to various parades other other activities:

MERCHANTVILLE: The 405 and 407 will be detoured off of Maple Av between Center St and Poplar Av from 9:00am to 11:00am next Saturday due to a parade.
MOORESTOWN TWP: The 407 and 413 will be detoured off of Main St between 11:30am and 1:30pm next Saturday due to a parade.
OCEAN CITY: The 507 will not serve Ocean City Loop next Friday between 6:30pm and 9:30pm due to a parade.
PENNSAUKEN TWP: The 404 will be detoured off of Westfield Av between 36 St and Cove Rd between 9:30am and 3:30pm this Saturday due to a parade.
PITMAN: The 313, 408, and 412 will be detoured off of Broadway for most of the day this Saturday due to a parade.
VENTOR: The 505 will be detoured off of Ventor Av onto Atlantic Av between 10:00am and 1:00pm next Saturday due to a parade.

In addition, bus routes that connect the Trenton Rail Station with the State St corridor - the 409, 601, 606, 608, and 609 - are now operating straight along State St, with the opening of the Trenton Commons to vehicular traffic. The re-routing is expected to reduce travel time between the State House and Trenton Rail Station.

As far as holiday service goes on NJ Transit's South Jersey bus routes, no information has been posted yet. It is expected that NJT will post any information regarding added service from South Jersey malls to Camden and Philadelphia early next week.

The Philadelphia City Council hearing on the police department's Reimbursable Overtime Program was continued until December 17 at 10:00am. As noted a couple of days ago, SEPTA is believed to have been one of the companies that participated in the program, despite having its own police department. One possibility that had been circulating was that SEPTA in the past had brought in officers from the PPD's Public Affairs (plainclothes) unit, particularly during board meetings in the middle of labor disputes and/or during fare increase season. This hasn't been confirmed, and probably won't be until the hearing itself takes place.


SEPTA will hold a public hearing next month on the changes to the 115 that were implemented as part of last year's Annual Service Plan. The changes involved the extension from Delmar Village to MacDade Mall and the cutback from Ardmore to Brookline. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, December 23 at 1:00pm at the American Legion hall, 29 Bartram Av, Glenolden.


At least two contracts are now out for improvements to two stations on the R5.

The Fort Washington station project went to a pre-bid meeting today, with contracts expected to be awarded sometime early next year. At Fort Washington, plans include a parking lot expansion, nearly tripling the number of available spaces from 202 spaces to 585; installation of a pedestrian tunnel and adjoining ramps and supports for a future high-level platform; reconstruction of the bus loop; and construction of a new bike trail.

At Exton, fewer details are available right now, however one would have to guess that it would involved extending the existing platforms to allow longer trains to safely board and alight passengers. Which is fine and dandy, but the platforms were already improved less than two years ago. If SEPTA or Amtrak knew there going to be train length issues at Exton, why not fix those problems then?

Monday, November 24, 2003


SEPTA will add extra holiday service on certain lines starting this week. In some cases, it involved either holding of certain trips and/or adding of extra trips. Unlike last year, there was nothing listed for extra 20 service between Bridge-Pratt and Franklin Mills Mall, however SEPTA has been known for adding trippers on the 20 without any publicity, so it's possible that there may be extra 20 trips running.


Normally, the last columnist in Philadelphia that I'd want to quote is Jill Porter, the uber-liberal feminist columnist from the Daily News, who has been known to write male-bashing columns in the past that could be described as "toxic." Yet, in today's Daily News, Porter actually raises an interesting issue (and, no, there's no male-bashing involved ... thankfully).

City Councilman Frank Rizzo (R-At Large) has initiated public hearings through Council's Public Safety Committe regarding excessive overtime charges by Philadelphia Police officers who work in a program called the Reimbursable Overtime Program, in which off-duty officers are permitted to work for private companies at overtime rates, with the companies paying the City of Philadelphia - in theory, at least.

According to Rizzo, however, many participating companies are neither billed by nor reimburse the city for the officer's services. As a result, the program is costing city taxpayers nearly $2.1 million as of the end of the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Why is this issue being brought up? Well, guess who one of the participating companies was...

None other than SEPTA.

This raises the question: Why is SEPTA hiring off-duty Philadelphia Police officers when they have their own Transit Police Department?

At this point, it is unclear exactly how involved SEPTA was in this program, nor is it clear at this time how much SEPTA paid the city - or whether or not SEPTA owes the city any money. Rizzo's hearing is scheduled to continue tomorrow morning. If and when more details become available, they will be posted here...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


PennDOT recently awarded a $115,000 grant to West Chester Borough officials to initiate a new shuttle bus service within the borough and nearby West Goshen and East Bradford townships. Considering that a shuttle bus service was to have been one of the higher priorities for the borough over the next few years, this would appear to be a no-brainer, right?

Um, nope.

West Chester Borough Council's Finance Committee recommended to the full council not to accept the grant, because it would cost the borough $38,000 to operate the service for the first year.

Before anybody finds that last item ridiculous, bear in mind that this is the same borough council which recently held a special session a couple of months ago - on a Saturday, no less - to authorize the purchase of a more expensive brick for use in replacing the sidewalks along Market St in downtown West Chester. As I recall, the amount spent fot the newer brick was nearly $150,000. Yet, these same geniuses (two of whom are leaving at the end of the year, thankfully) won't shell out $38,000 to operate a highly needed shuttle bus?

And don't think the borough council isn't the only culprit here. The TMA of Chester County had approached West Chester University about funding part of the service for the weekday daytime service. The university was more interested in weekend evening service as opposed to the weekday service proposed by TMACC. (Incidentially, knowing the TMACC's past policy regarding their refusal to honor SEPTA fare instruments, the shuttle would've probably been a failure, but we probably won't know until next year at the earliest.)

An editorial in Tuesday's Daily Local News seems to have hit the mark. What they apparently are missing is the lack of interest on SEPTA's part. How is it that the authority can support boondoggle routes in Lower Merion and Lower Bucks while ignoring a potential successful shuttle service in West Chester? If SEPTA's involvement is good enough for West Whiteland Township (where the WHIRL has been in place for two years), then it should be good enough for West Chester.

Assuming that the borough council and the university wake up to this fact before High and Gay Sts becomes gridlocked even worse than I-76...


Apparently, some peope have taken exception to recent comments I made regarding a recent item involving State Sen Connie Hess Williams (D-17), particularly linking the first term senator to highway interests by way of links to her family fortune - which incidentially is in the oil industry. As tempting as it is to apologize right off the top, I do have to make what I feel is a valid point...

Why is it okay for liberals to criticize President Bush for his ties to the oil industry but it's not okay for non-liberals to do the same to a Democratic legislator?

That said, the only apology I am making is for linking my analysis of Sen. Williams statements on $chuylkill Valley to her family background and to the opening of the I-76/US 202 interchange. I still believe that the senator should be realistic about who $chuylkill Valley will play out, but I probably shouldn't have allowed my Republican views to cloud my comments and accusing her of being tied in with highway interests.

That doesn't mean I'm going to treat Lower Merion with kid gloves, by the way. I still think the pols in that town are borderline elitest. How else do you explain the school board's plans to essentially tear down its two high schools which were renovated only a few years ago? There had better be a compelling reason for that proposal...

Saturday, November 15, 2003


In this past Sunday's Inquirer, Jere Down reports that SEPTA will be cancelling the Magincal Holiday Railway display that has graced the lobby of 1234 Market due to financial constraints. The net savings? A whopping $40,000.

On Thursday, the Inky ran an editorial bemoaning the loss of the railway display, which attracted a significant number of people over the past several years.

Meanwhile, while the Magical Holiday Railway is grounded, SEPTA is somehow able to offer discounts for the Philadelphia Kixx indoor soccer team. I wonder where that money is coming from?


The past three evenings haven't exactly been fun for SEPTA...

On Wednesday evening, apparent signal problems caused delays to the last R5 en route to Thorndale (#591), which ran 15-20 minutes late.

On Thursday evening, the #581 (8:10pm from Market East) reportedly struck a deer east of Downingtown. A rescue train was dispatched nearly an hour later to recover the #581, however that resulted in the apparent anullment of the #596 (9:43pm Thorndale to Lansdale). The #585 (9:10pm from Market East) was stuck in the congestion and arrived in Thorndale nearly 30 minutes late. This was despite repeated attempts by dispatchers to turn the train before Thorndale to cover the #596. The #598, as a result, left Thorndale about 30-40 minutes late and had to cover both the #596 and #598 loads on the Paoli side. There was no word on how or if the Lansdale side of the runs were covered.

Then, last night, an R5 train arrived at Exton at 6:27pm. Was this the #7565 Great Valley Flyer (5:41pm express to Paoli, local to Thorndale)? Nope. It was the #9559 (5:08pm Thorndale Limited to Wayne. It did not appear to be a signal problem on Amtrak's side, as the #649 arrived at Exton only a minute or two late.

Yet, on both Thursday and Friday nights, KYW 1060 - which is usually on top of any major railroad delays - had no reports of major problems. The excuse from KYW was that SEPTA never let them know about it. Given SEPTA's past history, that sounds about right...


Anybody who thought SEPTA was bad has never had the misfortune of dealing with a bus line that makes SEPTA look like DART. The line in question is the Krapf's (ahem) Transit "A" bus between Coatesville and West Chester - the same line that is in direct competition with SEPTA's 92 bus.

This afternoon, several passengers trying to get to Coatesville were waiting for an "A" bus in downtown West Chester shortly after 3:00pm. The only problem was that many of them had been waiting since 2:00pm. Allegedly, neither the 2:00pm nor the 3:00pm departures ever showed up. Calls to Krapf's by these passengers went nowhere, with the dispatchers reportedly blaming the passengers for not getting to the stop on time (a page right out of SEPTA's playbook).

Even for this poor excuse of a transit line, this is an all-time low. When one bus doesn't show up on this line, that tends to cause problems. When neither bus shows up and passengers are stranded with virtually no alternate means to get to Coatesville, that becomes a major problem.

The biggest problem of them all is that Krapf's can get away with it.

A suggestion to complain to Coatesville City Council went on deaf ears, with the common refrain by Council being "Call the dispatcher." Right, like that's going to do any good on a Saturday when nobody knows what the hell is going on...

Because Krapf's relies on no government funding and apparently strong protection from the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, trying to hold anyone accountable is virtually impossible. (In theory, SEPTA is supposed to be held accountable by PennDOT, FTA, the counties, and the City of Philadelphia, but in practice, anyone can tell you that it's all a bunch of crap.) Without the strings of PennDOT or federal funding attached, it's pretty much a license to screw the people of Chester County over. This means that the "A" bus:

  • Is permitted to operate vehicles that are not accessible to passengers with disabilities;
  • Does not accept nor honor SEPTA passes, transfers, or other fare instruments, and apparently have no desire to do so;
  • Is permitted to operate vehicles that most transit agencies wouldn't even think about running, including junk transit buses (the Thomas TL960 buses are in horrible shape; 1 bus is out of service, the other breaks down a lot), older MCI over-the-road coaches, small cutaway buses, and the occasional school bus, while at the same time, purchases brand new MCI J-series coaches for its charter operation and enables the Krapf's family to make a huge profit (so much so that they own an enormous "McMansion" in East Bradford Twp, just west of West Chester);
  • Has nobody within the government structure - either at the county, state, or federal level - to hold them accountable;
  • Has minimal supervision on the road to prevent fiascos like today; and
  • Is permitted to operate two SEPTA bus routes under contract to SEPTA (204 and 207/WHIRL) at the expense of SEPTA's generally hard working bus operators

  • Were the "A" bus operated under SEPTA's jurisdiction, there would be so many complaints coming from Coatesville and Downingtown (among other places) that Fearless Leader herself would have to personally address these issues. (Which, of course, is highly unlikely, since it's obvious that Fearless Leader can't seem to find West Chester on a map, much less Coatesville).

    Any transit agency that allows a bus line to go to hell as the "A" bus has would be in major trouble with the alphabet soup of state and federal agencies responsible for oversight in mass transit (FTA, USDOT, PennDOT, PUC, et al). But, if it's a private company with little oversight, what can be done? Sadly, next to nothing...

    If there were ever a time for SEPTA to consider a hostile takeover of the line, this would be it. Don't count on it happening, though...

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003


    At today's NJ Transit Board Meeting in Newark, an announcement is expected to be made regarding the new name for the Southern New Jersey Light Rail Transit System (aka the boondoggle tribute to Burlington County's GOP), as well as the official launch date for the line. SNJLRTS, which was to have opened last year, has been beset by delays due to construction problems and legal actions. Now, if NJT can stick with this date, all will be well.


    It appears that based on spotter observations, the 12 hybrid low floor buses will mainly be used on the 12, 17, and 37. The hybrids have bike racks (as do the 5600s assigned to Southern), and the 12 and 37 are bike rack lines. The 17 is, well, the 17 - one of the busiest lines operating out of Southern. Even though the hybrids may make an occasional appearance on other Southern routes, they will mainly stay on the 12, 17, and 37.


    Out of the 398 NABIs, there are now 43 that have yet to go through the overhaul process. Three more have recently returned to service with the past few days: Comly 5107, Midvale 5236, and Red Arrow 5302. In a recent observation, 5102, 5188, 5293, 5373, and 5394 are about to go through the process or have completed VOH since the last report from Wyoming.

    Once the NABI overhauls are complete, which should be within the next 6-8 weeks, Wyoming Shop employees will begin identifying problem areas with the Neoplan artic fleet, which has endured problems ranging from slow acceleration, sticky brakes, and a myriad of problems that some operators have started branding them as "junk." And they're less than 4 years old...

    Allegheny 7102 is reportedly the pilot bus for the VOH process, and is expected to be out of service for at least the next 2-3 months, and possibly longer.


    Congestion problems along Ridge Pike have forced SEPTA to make adjustments to three AM peak trips on the 93 between Pottstown and Norristown. The 6:40am departure from Pottstown will now depart at 6:25am, while the 7:40am and 8:40am departures from Norristown will depart 5 minutes earlier. New timetables will be issued with a November 24 effective date.

    Isn't it interesting how SEPTA can change the 93 schedules mid-way through a schedule cycle, but they can't do the same for the often unreliable 104?

    Thursday, November 06, 2003


    The two unaccounted for hybrids have been identified as 5603H and 5608H. All of the reported buses, save for 5606H are now at Southern (at last report, 5606H is still at Germantown). 5612H was reportedly on the 476/Turnpike Extension en route to Philadelphia on Tuesday (this may have been a delivery; it appears they're taking I-80 from the Midwest and picking up 476 to get into Philadelphia, presumably to avoid the Mainline PA Turnpike tolls). The above listed buses join 5605H and 5611H as confirmed hybrid vehicles on SEPTA property.


    Rather than waste blog space bitching about the 104, I've decided to start posting problems that I encounter on that line in the guestbook. Today's posting involved a delayed bus right before the start of the PM peak. Let's just say it's starting to become a broken record.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2003


    The Regional Rail schedules will change on Sunday, with major changes to the R1 Airport/Glenside line, R2 Warminster, and both R8 branches. More details will be posted by the weekend.


    The Center City TMA is proposing to manage a privately operated shuttle bus that would partially replace the Phlash. Details, inlcuding the routing and fare structure, are sketchy, however, the CCTMA is asking DVRPC to transfer CMAQ funding from the former Phlash service to fund the new service. SEPTA would not be involved in the project, but I have a gut feeling that TWU 234 is going to have something to say about this...


    At least 3 of the New Flyer diesel-hybrid low floor are confirmed to be on SEPTA property. 5605H and 5606H were seen yesterday at the Germantown shops, while 5611H was at Wyoming. A SEPTA official told the DVRPC's Regional Transportation Committee that at least 5 hybrids were on the property. Thus far, I've only been able to confirm the two at Germantown and the single bus at Wyoming, but that's not to say that the other two haven't arrived. It's also possible that the two unaccounted hybrids are at Southern as we speak, awaiting their first runs.

    As a result of the 5603H-5612H arriving at SEPTA, it appears some 3100s or 3200s could be shifted to Frankford to allow some 3000s to be pulled out of service (or transferred to Midvale). Should make for an interesting couple of weeks...


    By the time this posting is published, I will have probably burned Dan Geringer's ear off. Or at least his voice mail...

    This afternoon, I made the big mistake of walking into the men's room at Market East's Section A (the 10 St side). Let's just say I should've brought a gas mask...

    It was one of the worst stenches I have ever encountered. The conditions in the men's room were worse than they ever could've been at 69 St (and that's saying something). Complaints to a maintenance worker and SEPTA Passenger Dis-Services went nowhere. Surprise, surprise...

    OH, BY THE WAY...

    You can expect my take on Emperor's Street's re-election soon. It won't be pretty...

    You can also expect a long rant about the ongoing problems on the 104, where there seems to be a problem on that line every day...

    Right now, I need my sleep...

    Saturday, November 01, 2003


    Last night's commute on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale wasn't a particularly fun one.

    The 4:47pm Thorndale Limited (#9555) ran nearly 15-20 minutes late last night, due to a combination of slippery rail and Amtrak problems. At least the 9555 made it to Thorndale...

    The #9571 (6:06pm Thorndale Express to Bryn Mawr) made it as far as Downingtown before breaking down between Downingtown and Thorndale. As doors seemingly couldn't make of their mind whether to open or close, one had to wonder if this was a haunted train or just more sloppy SEPTA maintenance (my guess is the latter). Several passengers, including one unfortunate woman from Center City who was visiting friends and missed a dinner reservation as a result of the 9571's breakdown, simply got off the train where it was stalled.

    And this mess was before today's bus bridge. Fortunately, that seemed to work out well, as two Red Arrow buses (5593 and 5595) were covering the shuttle. And, as reported yesterday, they both had bike racks. The only problems encountered were construction workers along the 30 Bypass approaching PA 113 in Downingtown, but other than that, there were no major problems.

    Friday, October 31, 2003


    You have one transit system which, in theory, should feature communication between dispatchers and operators that should be as seamless as possible. Never mind that there are essentially three bus systems and two railroad networks under your direction. Never mind that there is now a systemwide radio network that conveniently broadcasts announcements on detours in South Philadelphia on buses in Delaware County. Never mind that this same system can store route signs and stop announcements for any route in the system. Yesterday's operations in West Chester raise one very important question...

    How can operators on the 92 be informed as to a specific detour routing while operators on the 104 be left in the dark?

    The answer is very simple... Frontier's management is infinitely superior to Red Arrow's management.

    92 operators not only were aided by a white-shirt who posted detour signs at two major stops - New St/Market St and High St/Gay St - they also had a message from the Control Center that instructed them to operate via High St, Chestnut St, Wayne St, and Price St towards West Chester University, and returning via High St, Price St, Wayne St, and Washington St. In addition, a protect bus (5151) was also dispatched after 6018 block (2031) was running nearly an hour late due to the heavy congestion through town.

    The 104? Ha!

    At around 8:15pm, 3291, covering 4299 block (the operator is almost always on schedule, so for him to be that late is unheard of) was seen turning onto New St off of Chestnut. Unfortunately for him, he had no detour instructions, and no warning from the Control Center about the parade. To make things worse, nobody from Red Arrow bothered to make the trip out to West Chester to post signs or monitor operations.

    And you wonder why I'm constantly complaining about how bad things are at Red Arrow?


    And to make things worse, today's 3:15pm departure from West Chester (3261/4232 block) left Chestnut St/University Av with a standing load. A few weeks ago, the 4:15pm 104 trip (4239 block) also left with a standing load. When I saw the first incident, I was thinking that a bus was missing (which, given Red Arrow's ongoing bus shortages over the past couple of years, is a possibility).

    Today's observation, however, may very well be more than an isolated incident. Unless 4237 block (the 2:45pm West Chester to 69 St run that is essentially a pull-in off the 119) never showed up, there seems to be an issue with massive overcrowding on Friday afternoons, especially when classes are in session. Needless to say, there were probably quite a few people waiting along Market St in West Chester and along West Chester Pike between West Goshen and Edgmont who are probably still waiting for a bus as this item is being posted...

    If SEPTA is able to add extra trips from Cheyney on the 120, then a protect bus on Fridays for the 104 shouldn't be much of a problem. Unless the management at Red Arrow continues to have its collective head in the sand, there's no reason why someone shouldn't be looking into this...

    (FOLLOW-UP: The load on the 3:45pm 104 from West Chester (3265/4231 block) wasn't as heavy as the 4232 block, but there were still quite a few people waiting at the Papa John's across from campus. My guess is that there's a either there's 92 bus that's running very late (I thought the US 202 congestion was reduced now that construction at I-76 is complete) or they got to the stop earlier than they were supposed to. I hope it's the latter rather than the former, but we'll see...)


    The purchase of new bike racks for the NABI, Neo artic, and New Flyer 5400-series is on hold pending a lawsuit between two bike rack manufacturers.

    John Boyle of the Bicycle Coalition of the Delaware Valley reports that Sportworks, which built the bike racks sported on the ElDorados and 5500/5600 series New Flyers, is claiming that the low bidder on the contract built a prototype rack which Sportworks claims is a copywright infringement. Sportworks is the Seattle-area bike rack firm that claims nearly all (95 percent) of the market share in the transit industry. Similar litigation in Buffalo is still pending.

    On the good news front, SEPTA is planning to add stationary bike racks at some R5 stations as part of the US 202 CMS strategies. These will probably involve stations at least between Thorndale and Malvern, though the final determination has not yet been made.

    Meanwhile, a Frontier bus - either an ElDorado or a 5600 - will be covering the R5 bus-bridge tomorrow and on November 15. The bus will be bike rack equipped. Based on personal observations, I would anticipate a New Flyer would be used, since you do get a halfway decent load between Thorndale and Paoli on Saturdays.


    And now, the latest elected official to suffer a major brain cramp regarding $chuylkill Valley. State Senator Connie Hess Williams (D-17th), whose district includes The People's Republic of Lower Merion (that should give you a hint right there), spoke out about the $2 billion (and climbing) boondoggle at a ribbon cutting for the new I-76/US 202/US 422 interchange in Upper Merion. From today's Inquirer:

    "I hope we are here in 10 years to open the Schuylkill Valley Metro," Sen. Connie Williams (D., Montgomery) said. As SEPTA struggles with state funding shortages, the agency's plans to construct a $2 billion train line from Center City to Reading are all but dormant.

    Sure, Senator. And in 10 years, I hope the people in Montgomery and Delaware counties will have came to their senses and voted you out of office. (How embarrassing is it for notoriously Republican Delaware County to have Haverford and Radnor Townships represented by - gasp - a Democrat?) Considering that the not so good senator's father is the late Leon Hess (yes, as in the Central Jersey oil magnate and former owner of the New York J-E-T-S Help Help Help), I'm sure she may still be in step with the highway interests. How else can you explain her support for a rail project that - as currently proposed - may very well never be built?

    Thursday, October 30, 2003


    First, the good news regarding tonight's detours in West Chester...

    SEPTA is apparently aware of the annual Halloween parade which has both Gay and High Sts blocked off.

    Now the bad news...

    The geniuses in the Control Center at 1234 Market seem to have flunked basic West Chester geography.

    During a mid-day call to Travel Mis-Information, the Passenger Dis-services agent confirmed that the 92, 104, and 119 would be detoured. When asked for a specific detour for the southbound 92 from West Chester to Exton, however, these directions were given:

    From High and Miner, then left on Miner, right on Wayne St, right on Chestnut, left on High St.

    Which would be okay, except for one tiny little problem - you can't turn right off of Wayne onto Chestnut, because Chestnut is a one-way street in the opposite direction. Oops. The agent then claimed the information came from the Control Center (okay, so it's an improvement over two months ago...). Apparently, nobody at the Control Center bothered to call West Chester borough officials to confirm if that was the correct detour.

    Anyway, as of 7:00pm, I have not been able to confirm if a white-shirt had been dispatched to West Chester. Also, as of 7:00pm, there have been no bus sightings in the south side of West Chester that have been confirmed.

    By the way, there's no mention of any bus detours in West Chester on the SEPTA web site. Which of course is standard policy for non-rail lines operating west of the People's Republic of Lower Merion...


    It seems as though SEPTA's brilliant (ha-ha) webmasters have decided to go Puff Daddy on us, as evidenced by this gem from the SEPTA web site, regarding the R5 bus-bridge on Saturday:

    Shuttle buses will represent R-5 train service between Thorndale and Paoli Stations starting at 8:13 a.m. inbound from Thorndale and 9:00 a.m. outbound from Paoli.

    Wow. All that money, and one would think that SEPTA could afford a thesaurus...


    Remember the old NFL Films videos entitled "Football Follies" from the late 1970s and early 1980s? Well, if Steve Sabol ever wanted to branch out from NFL videos and start a new "Follies" series, he can look no further than 1234 Market. Or, at the very least, the R5 Paoli-Thorndale line.

    This morning, the #518 train (5:52am from Thorndale to Roberts Yard) arrived into Downingtown 7 minutes late. The only problem was it was with the #9522 crew, which leaves Thorndale at 6:09am (this train used to depart closer to 6:20am, but thank the Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market for screwing that up) using a push-pull set instead of the 4-car Silverliner set normally used on the #518. An initial inquiry led to this response from an assistant conductor who was apparently in training for a job at SEPTA's Ministry of Mis-Information:

    "I can not confirm or deny the status of the other train crew only to say that we are "representing" the 518."

    For the record, it was a paraphrase of what he said, but you get the idea...

    Fortunately, another crew member confirmed that the #518 suffered equipment problems leaving the yard. I was not, however, able to confirm if the #9522 was able to run (though there appeared to be nobody at Exton when I passed by on the 92 en route to West Chester at around 6:45am, so it may have run, but late).

    MEMO TO THE CONTROL CENTER AND THE ROTATING RESUMES AT 1234 MARKET: We do have a PA system at Thorndale, Downingtown, and Exton (I can't say anything about Whitford, but I doubt it). It might be a good idea to use it once in a while so we know what the hell is going on...

    Wednesday, October 29, 2003


    On Saturday, SEPTA will be operating a bus-bridge on the R5 between Paoli and Thorndale. Initial reports had indicated that buses would serve Thorndale, Downingtown, Whitford, and Exton stations en route to Paoli. Apparently, when this was posted in today's Metro "propaganda page", someone at SEPTA realized that it's next to impossible to run 40-ft buses along Whitford Rd to reach Whitford Station.

    The SEPTA web site now notes a corrected bus-bridge plan: Buses will stop at Thorndale, Downingtown, and Exton, but a van will be operated between Whitford and Paoli. Wouldn't it have made sense to post that in the first place?

    In any event, all outbound trains to Thorndale and all inbound trains with the exception of the #8524 (6:47am from Thorndale to Center City) will be impacted. Additionally, the last three trains from Paoli (#1574, 1576, and 1578) will be delayed 15 minutes, causing delays on the Lansdale side of the R5. Should make for a fun Saturday in Chester County...


    Not that SEPTA is ever going to mention this to its customers, but...

    West Chester Borough will be holding their annual Halloween parade along Market and Gay Sts tomorrow night. As a result, the 92, 104, 119, and 314 buses will be on detour routings between 5:00pm and 10:00pm. The only problem is that nobody knows what the detour routings are going to be. This is hardly surprising, since neither SEPTA nor borough officials ever have a clue where to route the buses when both Gay and Market Sts are closed for a parade.

    This was the case last December, when no white-shirts were ever dispatched out to West Chester to coordinate detours for the borough's Christmas parade. At least one 104 bus ended up on the north end of town, turning off of Marshall St onto High St, which is way out off their normal routing.

    Somehow, I don't expect anyone from SEPTA to try and coordinate things again this year. I had better be proven wrong.

    And while we're at it, how is it that two months after taking effect, SEPTA still has schedule and route changes for the Red Arrow routes, but no mention of Frontier schedule and route changes on it's detour listings page?

    Tuesday, October 28, 2003


    Apparently those running for public office in Montgomery County still don't grasp the concept of cost controls and reasonable planning.

    The Norristown Times Herald recently reported on a candidates forum at the Montgomery County Community College main campus in Whitpain.

    The four candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner - Republicans James Matthews and Tom Ellis (SEPTA Board Member) and Democrats Ruth Damsker and Frank Custer - reiterated their support for the $chuylkill Valley boondoggle, whose price tag is now approaching $2 billion.

    "Everyone should be in favor of ($chuylkill Valley) because it offers mediation to the nightmare congestion along the Route 422 corridor," said (Matthews)... "It is a magnificent plan. The dilemma is that we can't afford to pay half."

    And Matthews is just figuring that out now? How do you think that brother Chris (of MSNBC) would react if he found out that his home county was about to embark on a fiscal boondoggle that would make Boston's Big Dig highway construction project look like a simple road paving project in West Bradford?

    MEMO TO COMMISSIONER MATTHEWS: There is a way out of this. Pressure SEPTA to abandon this "MetroRail" crap in favor of a more sensible plan. That way, Montgomery County wouldn't be on the hook for a portion of the $1 billion match required.

    Matthew's position on $chuylkill Valley may very well be a testament to the ability of Fearless Leader's predecessor, Jack Leary, to brainwash elected officials into supporting a plan that, quite honestly, has little to no chance of becoming reality.

    Meanwhile, at that same forum...

    Noting that Ellis was one of the county's two representatives on the SEPTA Board, Custer said he had to question Ellis' commitment to public transportation since he did not attend any of SEPTA's area public hearings earlier this year on proposed service cutbacks.

    Ellis responded that it was because of his championing of the R6 Norristown commuter rail line that there were no service cutbacks on that service. Since he was appointed to the board, Ellis said, there have been no service cutbacks in the county.

    (This was before the 99 service between Royersford and Pottstown was eliminated due to the lack of additional funding, a change which took effect on Monday.)

    Now, either Margaret Gibbons of the Times-Herald got her information incorrect, or Ellis is lying, but there were reductions on the R6 Norristown as a result of Rail Power Project, which were maintained after the project ended in July. Granted, they were minor reductions, but reductions all the same...

    And, let's not forget the R6 Cynwyd reductions (then again, being from Cheltenham Twp, I wouldn't be shocked if people in that part of the county ignored the People's Republic of Lower Merion - which really wouldn't be a bad thing, when you think about it).

    Well, the lies told by Ellis may very well be a moot issue, as Montgomery County is one of the stronger GOP area in Pennsylvania.

    (On a related note, ads have been popping up at bus shelters - particularly at DeKalb St near the King Manor P&W station and at Plymouth Meeting Mall - and at some MontCo rail stations - namely Ambler - in support of the Matthews-Ellis ticket. This is probably one of the first times I can recall political ads anywhere on the SEPTA system. And, no, I don't think it's a coincidence, considering Ellis' position on the SEPTA Board.)

    A dead body was found along the R7/NEC ROW near Croydon early Monday morning. The discovery forced Amtrak to impose speed restrictions on southbound SEPTA and Amtrak trains to 25 mph. Northbound trains were not as heavily impacted by the tresspasser, who was struck by the Federal (#67) heading southbound to Washington shortly after 4:00am Monday morning. While Amtrak police are still investigating, neither Amtrak nor Bucks County officials have been able to identify the victim.


    SEPTA is scheduling two public hearings regarding the 316/Lucy and 103 lines:

    • The hearing on the 316/LUCY will take place on Friday, November 21 at the University City District Board Room, 3940 Chestnut, Philadelphia, starting at 10:30am. Routing changes that extended the Green and Gold loops to 40 and 41 Sts are being submitted for permanent approval.
    • The hearing on the 103 will take place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 2 in the People's Republic of Lower Merion's Municipal Building, located at 75 W Lancaster Av in Ardmore. The 103 hearing involves a recent change in routing along Cricket Terrace. Residents had complained about two-way traffic along Cricket Terrace; as a result, the northbound 103 was re-routed to Ardmore Av.


    It's apparent that either (1) SEPTA's Ministry of Mis-Information can't get their stories straight regarding last week's mishap at the 8 St El station, or (2) either The Daily News or The Inquirer didn't bother to check details about the incident.

    The Daily News basically took a story off the AP wire, in which SEPTA spokeswoman Sylvana Hoyos told the AP that it was unclear what caused the tiles to fall.

    Meanwhile, Tom Gibbons from the Inquirer was given a completely different version from SEPTA's Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney.

    "The ceiling had lost its integrity and it came down on the train as it came into the station," said Maloney, speaking as workers began cautiously restoring power to the third rail allowing the train to back out of the station.

    When it comes to lost integrity, Maloney is right at the top of the list, but that's another story...

    In any case, the incident occured shortly after 9:00am as a train en route to 69 St approached 8 St station. Debris then fell from the ceiling, landing onto the tracks, causing the 4th car of the 6 car train to short out. Some of the debris was then put into one of the non-damanged cars as it was taken to the 69 St yard for repair work. Shuttle buses were used on the El between Spring Garden and 15 St for over 2 hours until service was restored. PATCO service within the city was also suspended during this time as a precuationary measure.

    Doesn't it seem odd that SEPTA is (rightfully) spending a substantial amount of money rehabbing both stations and guideway along the Market St and Frankford portions of the El, but hardly anything has been said about the conditions of the subway portion of the El? Let's just hope this was an isolated incident which could serve as a wake-up call to be more vigilant regarding the section between 2 St and 40 St.

    Monday, October 27, 2003


    On Sunday, NJT buses serving Philadelphia will operate via the Walt Whitman Bridge due to a road race between 8:00am and 9:30am. Should make for some interesting early morning rides if one is so inclined...
    SURE, NOW...

    It's almost laughable that SEPTA would have to issue a press release for this after they should've been doing it all along...

    SEPTA issued a press release announcing that the lower level at Pattison station would be open for all Iggles home games at "The New $512 million, Partially Taxpayer Subsidized License for Lurie and Banner to Gouge Prices at 11 St and Pattison Av" for the rest of this season. SEPTA reports that nearly ridership at Pattison has average nearly 10,000 riders for the first three home games this season (not counting yesterday's win over the "J-E-T-S Help Help Help" - the finest effort of the season by the Iggles, which is pretty much like using a knife to fill a bandaid wound).

    This raises the question "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO FIGURE THAT OUT?"


    In Sunday's Inquirer, Jere Downs and Anthony R. Wood (who I'm guessing work out of South Jersey) wrote a detailed article on SEPTA's plan of attack to combat one of the few problems on the Regional Rail system that is out of their control - slippery rail conditions. Rather than attempt to explain the process (I'm being lazy here, obviously), click on the link and you'll get an idea on what SEPTA and NJ Transit are doing.

    As an added bonus, you'll get to read another one of BLE boss Tom Dorricott's classic one-liners, as he compares slippery rail conditions to the Three Stooges.

    And, in a Frankford Terminal exclusive, I'd be more than happy to name those Three Stooges to whom he might be referring to: Fearless Leader, Don Pasquale, and the AGM of Faulty Operations.


    The Daily News gave a recap of Thursday's SEPTA Board meeting that was probably longer than the meeting itself. The meeting, which started 11 minutes late (or, by 104 standards, on-time), lasted all of 15 minutes, which would make it seem like yet another rubber-stamp session before the Board members dart off to whatever the hell it is they do with the rest of their time.

    Well, they didn't count on DVARP slamming the Regional Rail Division's pitiful on-time performance over the past 17 months. DVARP President Don Nigro made SEPTA look foolish (which doesn't take much these days) by noting that on-time RRD performance has been at 90 percent or below since May 2002, with the R3 West Trenton line running at only a 77 percent on-time clip in April 2003.

    "In the past two months, how many minutes of board discussion have been focused on this crisis?" Nigro asked the board yesterday during the public comment portion of an otherwise rapid and uncontested 15 minute meeting.

    There was no response in the room.

    "That was not a rhetorical question," Nigro said.

    Then, for what appeared to be the first time in recent memory, there was a non-rhetorical response from Don Pasquale.

    "It is an issue for the board to be taking seriously," (Don Pasquale) said, adding that the issue was being examined, and noting that there are "extenuating circumstances" that may explain the comparatively poor on-time percentage.

    Right. That also doesn't take into account the large number of cancelled trains on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale line last month, for which few alternate services were available for riders west of Paoli in most cases.

    As one would expect, after the blink and you'll miss it meeting, Fearless Leader addressed the issue:

    "I'm not saying we're happy about it," said Moore, who accused Nigro of "Showboating." (sic)

    Showboating? Showboating? I must have missed that one. In all the years I've been a member of DVARP, I've never known DVARP to engage in "showboating." Staging a rally here and there, yes, but at least they handle themselves with more professionalism that the entire senior management at SEPTA combined.

    Memo to Fearless Leader: Terrell Owens engages in showboating. Manny Ramirez engages in showboating. Warren Sapp engages in showboating. But Don Nigro? I guess if we're going to use your logic, "showboating" is when somebody (in this case DVARP) calls you out on a major crisis, which in other systems would have initiated a long march to the unemployment lines, and SEPTA has no legitimate reaction except to kill the messenger, so to speak. This is what's known as the James Carville school of public relations, a tactic perfect by your own Minister of Mis-Information, Richard Maloney.

    And I also suppose that those activists who tossed their shoes at the board at the May meeting weren't showboating. Neither, apparently, were ACORN after they shut down the Subway-Surface lines at 40 St Portal two years ago (and were not, as best as I can recall, arrested or charged with any crime). And those wheelchair activists who chained themselves to a 33 bus in Center City weren't showboating either.

    Perhaps the fact that SEPTA's Regional Rail Division is the laughing stock of the industry (though the MBTA might likely overtake SEPTA in about 2-3 years) is the reason you decided to become defensive. Fine. Whatever. That's no reason to go on the offensive and blame DVARP for the simple fact that the Regional Rail Division, despite ridership increases in recent years (which may, ironically enough, be in spite of the history of incompetence within 1234 Market) is a national industry joke.

    Maybe it's the status quo that is the reason behind the Overbrook station rehab taking 4 YEARS to complete; and to make things worse, it looks as though SEPTA is going to yet again "forget" to add the mini-high platforms to allow wheelchair access. Oh, sure, it happens occasionally. But, Overbrook isn't the first station where SEPTA conveniently forgot to do the same thing at Strafford and Radnor stations on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale line and on the inbound platform at the rehabbed Chester Transportation Center.


    Considering that DVARP and other individuals and organizations (former Citizen's Advisory Committee member Lorraine Brill, Tom Dorricott of the BLE, and Dennis Winters of the Clean Air Council comes to mind) have a simple goal of actually improving the system instead of maintaining the status quo, you might not want to be as flippant as you were in the Daily News.

    But, that would be asking to much, now wouldn't it? After all, your predecessor, Jack Leary, is now part of a consortium of former MBTA managers that is currently mis-managing the T's Commuter Rail system. So, there's hope that in due time, the T will make SEPTA's Regional Rail system look like Metro-North in New York or even Metra in Chicago (which is the gold standard of commuter rail systems in the U.S.).

    After all, it's not like you have to stand in the cold at Downingtown... or Overbrook... or Chester... or New Britain... or Willow Grove. It's not like you have to ride in "rehabbed" rail cars where the brand new seats that were installed over the past 5 years are starting to fall apart as badly as the seats on the M-4 El cars. It's not as though you've ever sat through a long RRD delay in which the train isn't even moving due to signal problems, downed wires, or whatever particular whims SEPTA can come up with (and believe me, I'd bet that there's a ton of those in storage, right next to the defribulators that may never be deployed).

    No, of course not. You're Fearless Leader. You're supposedly better than us lowly riders who have to put up with this crap day after day.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003


    The Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors approved SEPTA's plans to expand parking at the Fort Washington Rail Station on the R5 Lansdale line. The Norristown Times Herald reports that 200 additional spaces will be added to the station. SEPTA and Whitemarsh Township are anticipating that the project will be timed to coincinde with the Bethlehem Pike bridge closing. To complete the project, SEPTA had to obtain 14 different waivers from the Supervisors, including rules on the size of the parking spaces and exceeding the maximum number of parking spaces in a row.
    FRONTIER CHANGES This is a listing of the major changes that will take place on Frontier routes starting this Sunday:

    • ROUTES 93, 97, 98, 124/125, 130, and 131 Minor schedule adjustments on these routes
    • ROUTE 94 On detour off of Bethlehem Pike bridge via Church Rd, PA 309, and Pennsylvania Av; new timetable to reflect added running time and temporary routing
    • ROUTE 95 Weekday peak service between Penn Square and Plymouth Meeting Mall reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes; short turns between Gulph Mills and Conshohocken are not affected
    • ROUTE 96 Trip times increased due to traffic conditions
    • ROUTE 99 Service between Royersford and Pottstown eliminated
    • ROUTE 128 Mid-day service on weekdays and Saturdays to be reduced from every 60 minutes to every 90 minutes
    • ROUTE 201 "Double section" AM peak trips (second bus to cover overflow ridership) eliminated; all service after 8:00pm eliminated
    • ROUTE 203 Eliminated
    • ROUTE 206 Early evening and Saturday service eliminated


    A former Amtrak official offered a three-pronged plan to allow SEPTA to alleviate it's $41 million budget defecit without cutting service or raising fares. Today's Inquirer reports that former Amtrak CFO Arlene Friner recommended that SEPTA - in addition to seeking the $15 million flexible highway funding that is being transfered from the PA 309 project - use $10 million from a special fund that SEPTA reportedly makes very little use of.

    ... SEPTA could spend $10 million of $37 million in reserves from leveraged leases on its equipment. Leveraged leases allow tax-exempt agencies such as SEPTA to profit from the depreciation of their capital assets.

    Unlike other transit agencies, Friner said, SEPTA takes the "reasonable but conservative position" of not spending that money until those leases expire.

    Friner added that "a responsible argument can be made" that SEPTA could spend $10 million from that fund.

    SEPTA board member Thomas Ellis is also a bond lawyer with experience in leveraged lease transactions. He saw Friner's recommendation to dip into SEPTA's reserves this way: "It is like refinancing your home and using those monies to pay your bills rather than build a new bathroom."

    Friner also suggested that the state attempt to find a dedicated source of funding for the state's mass transit systems, noting:

    ...[T]he transit agencies have financial gaps "because of a structural funding problem that dates back to the mid-1990s."

    The lack of state aid has been "masked" in recent years, Friner said, as transit agencies have coped by diverting capital grants to pay for everyday expenses. For example, SEPTA funneled $29 million in capital grants this year into its $875 million fiscal 2004 budget.

    Well, that was much ado about nothing, now wasn't it? One would've thought that Friner would've been able to identify specific effeciency problems within the system that would've made these steps unneccesary. Having not yet seen this report, I would suspect that this may have been nothing more than a ploy to pressure Harrisburg to find a more reliable source of transit funding while not putting any pressure on SEPTA to become more efficient.

    There are people out there who know about the skeletons in SEPTA's closets. Nobody, however, seems to want to do anything about it...


    A southbound 52 bus swerved to avoid a car and was rearended by two other vehicles yesterday morning. The accident occurred at 52 St/Sansom St at around 11:40am. The driver of a car pulled out in front of the bus, which swerved to avoid it. Two cars following the bus struck the rear of the vehicle. There were reports of injuries both on the bus and in the cars.

    Monday, October 20, 2003


    In addition to the minor changes proposed last month, DART First State will also be introducing new evening service to the Dover/Kent County area. The GoLink service will operate between 6:00pm and 9:00pm by advance reservation and will operate over the existing Kent County fixed route system. The new GoLink service and schedule changes in New Castle County will take effect on December 1.

    Another change affecting bus service in Dover that hasn't been widely reported is the introduction of a new shuttle bus between Harrington, Sussex County and Mifflin Meadows in Dover. The service apparently supplements the 303 bus between Dover and Milford as a second link between Kent and Sussex Counties. The Harrington/Dover shuttle began service on June 16 (which kinda tells you how lowsy a job I've been doing keeping track of events in Delaware).

    Speaking of Sussex, TMA Delaware is sponsoring a new seasonal shuttle bus in Rehoboth Beach. The Red Dart operates on weekends between now and the end of the year, and is free to ride.

    The Inquirer reports that a 35 year old Warminster man died after being struck by an R5 train near the Delaware Valley College station on Friday. The victim was struck by the #523, which was en-route to Center City and Thorndale, at the Beulah Rd crossing in New Britain Borough. SEPTA operated shuttle buses between Doylestown and Chalfont for two hours until the accident scene was cleared.

    This was just the first of major problems throughout the SEPTA system, as late trains and slippery rail conditions made Friday's commute on the Regional Rail system very difficult. R5 trains to Thorndale and Malvern were reported anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes late. There were also reports that the last R2 train to Marcus Hook was cancelled. In addition, an Amtrak breakdown caused problems on the R7 Trenton line.

    Delays throughout the system will become more common as slippery rail season continues. On Thursday night, there were reports that some crew members were forced to leave inbound trains before reaching Center City in order to make their connecting outbound runs. Other spies within RRD confirm that there continue to be staffing shortages on the RRD, particularly among assistant conductors.

    Further problems weren't as severe on Saturday, but there still were a few hiccups. The 11:46am R7 Trenton to Chestnut Hill East (#1716) was delayed 10 minutes in an attempt to wait for a delayed NJ Transit local from Penn Station/New York. The R7 was told to leave Trenton before the NJT train arrived.

    And, oh by the way, on-time performance still continues to fall below 90 percent. Numbers should be forthcoming soon, but early indications show that the results are not pretty for SEPTA ... again.


    Speaking of NJ Transit, the Newark Star Ledger reports that 26 employees have been disciplined over various ethics charges, following an internal investigation triggered by the arrest of former VP of NJT Bus Operations Maureen Milan, who recently pled guilty to lesser charges and faces 6 months in jail as part of a plea bargain.


    NJ Transit reports that several detours will be in effect over the next few weeks due to various parades in South Jersey. Among the disruptions:
    • Moorestown, Burlington Co: The 407 and 413 buses will be detoured along Main St within Moorestown Twp on November 7 between 6:30pm and 9:30pm due to a candlelight tour.
    • Palmyra, Burlington Co: The borough's Halloween parade will force the 419 to detour off of Broad St on October 30 between 6:30pm and 9:00pm.
    • Williamstown, Gloucester Co: A halloween parade along S Main St will detour the 400 bus on October 25 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm (this will only affect trips to Sicklerville, however cascading delays along other short turn trips are possible)
    • Ocean City: The 509 and 551 will be detoured off the 8 St Causeway on November 1 due to a road race in Ocean City and Somers Point. Also, on October 30, the Ocean City loop into the Transportation Center will be closed due to the city's Halloween parade from 7:15pm until midnight.

    It's interesting that NJT makes notice of detours of its South Jersey, considering the second class status that often befalls South Jersey among the powers in charge at Newark. At the same time, SEPTA, either through a lack of interest on their part, or in the words of one whiteshirt, the towns not letting SEPTA know what's going on (which is entirely possible), isn't quite as on the ball on this issue, as people in the western suburbs could probably attest to.


    The new bus terminal in Atlantic City is apparently progressing along, as new platform assignments have been issued for buses which end at the terminal. In addition, local buses operating along Atlantic Av will no longer stop at Michigan Av or Indiana Av, instead stopping at Ohio Av.

    In addition, the Atlantic City Rail Line will operate a bus bridge to replace three mid-day trains between Cherry Hill and 30 St/Philadelphia due to the rehab of the Delair Bridge. The bus bridge, which started today, will be in effect for the next 4-5 weeks. Normal rail service is operating between Cherry Hill and Atlantic City.