Thursday, January 30, 2003

  • BAD TRAFFIC PROBLEMS Traffic in downtown West Chester is clogged due to a combination of a PECO Energy crew working along Market St between Church and High Sts and a defective traffic signal at High and Market. West Chester Police are directing traffic at High and Market. As of 5:30pm, traffic on High St approaching Market was backed up 4 blocks from Market to Magnolia Streets. Service on the 92, 104, and 314 are being severely impacted, with delays of up to 15 to 20 minutes expected.

    The 2:15pm 104 from West Chester (5306/4231 block) arrived at 69 Street Terminal nearly 20 minutes behind schedule, due to a combination of heavy traffic and operator incompetence. The operator continued to make all stops along West Chester Pike, despite the fact that the 3:00pm 104 from Newtown Square Corporate Campus (5299) was directly behind him. The 3:00pm from Newtown Square arrived at 69 Street about 2 minutes before the West Chester bus arrived. The late arrival of 4231 block caused the 3:35pm return trip to West Chester to depart 6 minutes late. Someone at SEPTA may want to tell these drivers to at least attempt to make up time in a situation like this, but that would be asking too much...

  • FRANKFORD UPDATE There are major changes in store at Frankford Terminal starting in June. Among the changes to be put into effect:
    • The Bustleton Av Park and Ride lot will be closed while SEPTA begins construction on the 4 level parking deck at that site;
    • Starting in July, the 3, 5, 8, 24, and R buses, which presently board south of the terminal site along Pratt and Griscom Streets, will be moved to Bridge Street, and the parking lot at Pratt and Griscom will be closed;
    • At some point during the summer, El trains will terminate at Erie-Torresdale for a 9 day period. During this time, the old El structure will be demolished with a new structure to be built and connected with the new termial building; shuttle buses between Bridge-Pratt and Erie-Torresdale will be in service;
    • Once complete, El trains and all bus routes will begin operating out of the new terminal building;
    • Once the new building is opened, some bus routes will arrive and depart along Bustleton Avenue and Bridge Street while construction begins on the Bridge Street Headhouse. All bus routes will operate from the new terminal building by December;
    • Next December, the Bridge Street Headhouse and new parking deck will be completed, which will mark the official end of the Frankford Terminal reconstruction project.
  • Wednesday, January 29, 2003

  • NEXT ON THE BLOCK ... PHLASH Although not the most important point in his annual budget address, Philadelphia Mayor/Emperor John Street announced that the City of Philadelphia will be discontinuing the City managed/SEPTA operated Phlash shuttle bus as early as this summer. Emperor Street seems to think that transferring from a north-south route to the 15 bus on Girard is the most convenient way to reach the Philadelphia Zoo. Regarding Phlash, the Emperor said this:

    The [Five Year Financial] Plan eliminates our subsidy of the PHLASH (sic) shuttle buses. Usage of the shuttle buses has deteriorated to levels that no longer justify the city's contribution and other transportation is available. The elimination of City support will save $9.4 million through FY08.

    The elimination of Phlash also leaves a very sticky situation on two fronts. (1) The status of most of operators from the Trenton-Philadelphia Coach Divison based at Germantown Depot would most likely be in doubt, even though the TPC Division also operates the 310/Horsham Breeze, 311/Commonwealth Breeze, and 316/LUCY services. Though the Germantown operators are TWU 234 members, they work under a separate bargaining agreement from full-time City Transit Division operators and mechanics. (2) The disposition of the city owned fleet of Phlash buses (7 Orion II low floors - 4 CNG and 3 diesel - and at least 3 obsolete MetroTrans Legacy buses) should be very interesting. Hopefully, SEPTA won't be forced to buy these junkers from the City and some other transit systems in the Northeast may be paying attention.

  • FRONTIER'S LATEST PROBLEMS The good news - for shoppers and sprawl lovers - is the opening of the new Ikea store on Alan Wood Rd off of Ridge Pike in Plymouth Township within the past two weeks. The bad news - for Montgomery and Chester County bus riders in particular - is that a significant number of runs originating out of Frontier Depot have been delayed getting to their respective start points (Norristown, King of Prussia, West Chester, Chestnut Hill among others) due to a massive increase in traffic at Ridge and Alan Wood. This past Saturday, the 133 that was supposed to depart King of Prussia at 1:00pm and arrive in West Chester as a 92 at 2:14pm (6025 block) was running about 10-15 minutes late. The 1:00pm 133 was the start of the operator's run, which was delayed because of the heavy traffic. Please send all thank you notes to Plymouth Township (700 Belvoir Rd, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462) for their wonderful long term planning as it relates to traffic congestion in the Plymouth Meeting area and its indirect impacts on neighboring suburbs...
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2003

  • THE LIE CONTINUES... SEPTA issued a press release dated January 22 about the current cold snap and its effect on SEPTA service. Just as SEPTA's chief spokesman/apologist/liar Richard Maloney lied to the Daily News on Thursday (see link below), the press release apparently doesn't give R5 Paoli/Thorndale riders impaced last Tuesday and solace. To wit, the second paragraph starts off as follows:

    "SEPTA has not experienced any major system failures as a result of the [weather] conditions."

    Oh, so 20 to 30 minute delays on one of SEPTA's most important rail lines is not considered a "major system failure" by SEPTA standards, then what does? A 15 minute delay on the R3 West Trenton line north of Jenkintown?
  • Sunday, January 26, 2003

  • YORK COUNTY TIDBITS Congratulations are in order for Rabbit Transit (York County Transportation Authority) for finally joining the modern era in their recent purchase of electronic fareboxes. Over the past 5 years, Rabbit Transit has dramatically increased service on many of it's routes within York City, nearly doubling available service on Sundays from only 3 lines to 7 lines, and expanded service from York City to outlying parts of York County such as Shrewsbury and Hanover. The service between York City and Hanover connects the two lines operating in Hanover and Downtown York, service which wasn't in place back in 1998. On the fare collection front, Rabbit Transit joins other mid-size systems in the state such as Cambria County Transit in Johnstown and CityBus in Williamsport, as well as DART First State, in using new electronic fare cards. Not bad for a system that is about a small fraction of SEPTA's bus system alone...
  • Saturday, January 25, 2003

  • MORE EL TROUBLES Market-Frankford El riders suffered a double whammy last night due to the after effects of a track fire. At around 6:50pm, Philadelphia firefighters were dispatched to the El tunnel at 19 St to extinguish a rubbish fire near the third rail on the eastbound side. The fire was declared under control at around 7:30pm. However, 30 minutes later, a stalled train forced fire fighters to evacuate nearly 55 passengers from an eastbound train in the same area. Firefighters placed ladders at one of the doors, then safely led passengers across the track area to the 19 St subway-surface station, where passengers were safely evacuated. No injuries were reported as a result of either incident.

  • ANNUAL SERVICE PLAN UPDATE SEPTA is planning a public meeting for the FY 2003 Annual Service Plan on Friday at 10:00am, to be held at the Board Room at SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market, Philadelphia. Among the proposals:
  • Revisions to the City Transit Division Service Standards and Process Document. Changes proposed to the standards would put CTD standards in line with the standards in effect in the Suburban and Regional Rail Divisions (the last major modifications to the CTD Service Standards document was in 1996).
  • A realignment of the 27 off of 676 and Broad St with a new northern terminal. Originally proposed as part of the FY 2001 service plan, the 27 would be routed off of the 676 Expressway and exit I-76 at Spring Garden, then operate via Spring Garden, the Parkway, 17 St, and Locust St to 13 & Locust; prior to 1980, the terminus of the former SEPTA Route A (the predecessor to the 9, 27, and 32) was in the same general area at the 1400 block of Delancy. Buses would layover on the south side of Locust between Juniper and 13 St. Return service would operate via 13 St, Arch, JFK Blvd, 20 St, the Parkway, and Spring Garden to I-76. The re-routed 27 would improve access to Parkway attractions and office complexes in the Market St West district of Center City. The FY 2001 proposal was rejected due to it's poor cost effectiveness; however, with the southern terminus moved from Broad and Washington, this proposal should have a better chance of succeeding.
  • Consolidation of the 63 and 64. As had been discussed and reported at this web site, the 63 and 64 would be consolidated into a single route operating via Washington Av, replacing the poor performing 63 along Christian and Catharine Sts and the 64 along Ellsworth and Federal. The western end of the line would be extended to Parkside Loop. The new route, which would be designated 64, would originate at Pier 70, operating via the existing 63 routing to Delaware and Washington Avs, then operate via Washington to Grays Ferry with a deviation at the Ellsworth-Federal subway station. Service would then be routed to the Grays Ferry Shopping Center and along the existing 64 routing between 29 and Reed Sts to 48 and Wyalusing, with service extended to 49 and Parkside via Girard and Parkside Avs. Service would operate between 6:00am and 1:00am seven days a week, which represents a major upgrade for existing 63 riders between Grays Ferry Shopping Center and Pier 70; however, some people along the current 63 and 64 routes are bound to complain due to the increased walking distance to Washington Av.
  • New 98 service to Fort Washington and Horsham Twp. During peak hours, short turn trips operating to Ambler would be extended to Willow Grove via the Fort Washington Office Center and Welsh Rd in Horsham Twp, with a new stop at the Prudential complex in Horsham. Unproductive trips operating from Frontier Depot would be eliminated in order to offset the increased costs (take a lucky guess where those routes might be; if you guessed Chester County, then give yourself a gold star, as that's usually SEPTA's M.O.).
  • Regional Rail Service Changes. Once again, the City of Philadelphia is requesting later service on selected Regional Rail lines to improve access to the Kimmel Center and other locations along the Avenue of the Arts corridor. One weekday R5 Lansdale train would be extended to Doylestown; the Saturday 10:45pm departure from Center City would be retimed 15 minutes later from Doylestown; a later Saturday and Sunday trip would be added on the R2 Warminster, R2 Marcus Hook, R8 Chestnut Hill East, and R8 Fox Chase lines. In addition, SEPTA is proposing eliminating service at Angora (R3 Elwyn; sometimes referred to as 58 St station) and Lamokin St/Chester (R2 Marcus Hook) due to poor ridership. Despite not meeting ridership standards, R8 Chestnut Hill East trains would continue to stop at North Philadelphia due to extenuating circumstances and track alignment. Ridership at Crestmont (R2 Warminster) and Delaware Valley College (R5 Doylestown) increased to above service standards. One other station, Wissinoming (R7 Trenton) also fell short of the service standards, however, no additional effort was made to increase ridership there.

  • Details on the above proposals will be posted at the web site within the next few days. The meeting on Friday is the first step in the Service Plan process and is not a final proposal. The hearing and tariff process is expected to be finalized within the next two months with a goal to implement the changes by the June picking (the 98 changes, if approved, would most likely take effect during Frontier's October picking, unless TPTB in Norristown say otherwise...).

    Friday, January 24, 2003

  • MALONEY'S LATEST LIE Why do I have the feeling that Richard Maloney and Emperor Street's top cheap shot artist Frank Keel are actually the same person? (Okay, maybe not, but I think you get the idea.) On Thursday, SEPTA's chief spokesman/apologist/liar told the Philadelphia Daily News that SEPTA had not encountered any major problems related to the current arctic cold snap. "Knock on wood, we've not had any breakdown of the system that has significantly affected ridership," Maloney said. I guess Maloney forgot about the hundreds of angry commuters on the Paoli Line this past Tuesday. Or, perhaps, in the overall scheme of things, the Paoli Line isn't really that relevant to SEPTA. Nevertheless, it's just the latest lie to come out of Maloney's mouth, and I don't expect it to be the last one...

  • TWO SHOOTINGS In two separate incidents on Thursday, bullets struck SEPTA vehicles in Southwest Philadelphia. The first incident occured on a Center City bound 12 bus at 27 St and Schuylkill Av which was operating via University City; the second incident occured shortly before 6:30pm on a southbound 52 bus at 53 St and Greenway as it was looping towards the 49 St and Woodland Av layover point.
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2003

  • RAILROAD ACCIDENT An 80 year old Montgomery County woman sustained minor injuries following an accident on the R1 Airport Line yesterday afternoon. Reinelda Clarke of Willow Grove boarded the 2:43pm to Warminster (#4238) at the Terminal A station as it was departing. Despite pleas from the conductor not to board as the train was moving, Clarke reportedly followed a male passenger on board the train. The train then jerked briefly, causing her to fall. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Clarke's left leg "became wedged between the platform and the train, and she was dragged 'a short distance' until the conductor pulled the emergency [brake]." Clarke was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was treated and released for cuts and bruises to her left leg and back, and for pain in her right leg. The incident is under investigation by SEPTA.
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2003

  • PAOLI PROBLEMS Service on the R5 Paoli-Thorndale line and on Amtrak's Keystone Corridor to Harrisburg was delayed anywhere from 10 minutes for outbound trains and well over 30 minutes for inbound trains this morning due to switching problems near Frazer Yard. The air compressor that operates one of the switches just east of Frazer was not properly operating due to the near arctic conditions overnight. As a result, the 5:52am from Thorndale arrived 25 minutes late into Paoli and delays cascaded further into the morning as R5 inbound and outbound service was forced to operate single track between Frazer Yard and Paoli Interlocking. Trains passed by Frazer Interlocking, then backed up from 1 track (the inbound local track) to 4 track (the outbound local track) before heading eastbound to Malvern. Passengers at Malvern heading to Center City were forced to board at the outbound platform. During this time, SEPTA's automated anouncements misled passengers into thinking that trains were only running 10 minutes behind schedule. Apparently, the same people who coordinated the announcements were the same people advising Andy Reid about the Eagles game plan this past Sunday as the latest chapter of "Philadelphia: The City that Loves to Choke" was written. Let's just say that the scores of commuters waiting at Paoli didn't buy SEPTA's explaination that trains were "only" 10 minutes late...

  • END OF THE SPREE Just a reminder that the public hearing to discontinue the 76/Center City Shopping Spree line will take place tomorrow starting at 10:00am at SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market St, Philadelphia. The 76 only carried about 400 passengers per day, which doesn't seem like that many to begin with. Factor in that there are a ton of buses eastbound on Market (17, 21, 33, 38, 42, 44, and 48 among others) and westbound on Walnut (9, 12, 21, and 42), and of course, the Spree becomes a waste of money. The City of Philadelphia and the Center City District are also supporting the elimination of the Spree.
  • Saturday, January 18, 2003

  • TAKE A NUMBER It seems as though Middletown Township (Bucks) isn't the only municipality that's in a foul mood when it comes to SEPTA. As noted on these pages in November, the Middletown Township (Bucks) Board of Supervisors began legal proceedings against SEPTA and CSX regarding a troublesome crossing gate along the R3 West Trenton line at Woodbourne Rd. The last report I had heard on this issue was that the township had filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.

    Now, Millbourne Borough (which is actually a municipality and not just an El station stop) is also considering legal action against SEPTA regarding permit fees related to the Market St El reconstruction project. Millbourne Solicitor John McBlain accused SEPTA of refusing to pay nearly $23,000 in engineering and building permit fees, according to Friday's editions of the Delaware County Daily Times. State Rep. Mario Civera (R-164 of Upper Darby) is working on behalf of the borough to advance Millbourne's position. While borough officials view the El reconstruction project through as "an asset" to Millbourne, that hasn't stopped officials from putting pressure on SEPTA. McBlain told the Daily Times that the borough "... won't issue a permit and if [SEPTA starts] work without a permit, we will send a squad car to the site." And you thought protesters in West Philadelphia were going to be the only collective pains in SEPTA's rear...

  • ASLEEP? This morning, the 8:17am R5 from Downingtown to 30 St Station (#1530) featured a 3 car train - including the #285 car, which appeared to have problems with its air compressor, as it was making some sputtering noises not normally associated with normal operation. The car closed off (the #109 car was starting to fill up by the time the train reached Exton). It make one wonder if someone's not doing their job at Frazer Yard...
  • Tuesday, January 14, 2003

  • 15/GIRARD UPDATE The first of 18 newly overhauled PCC cars has been completed. According to Bill Monaghan's Trolley Driver web site, 2750 - which has been renumbered to 2320 - is expected to be at Elmwood sometime in March. The rehabbed PCC cars will be given the green and cream livery as historic PCC 2732.

  • IGGLES/BUCS SERVICE The only extra service that will be offered for Sunday's NFC Championship game will be Sports Express trains on the Broad Street line between 12:28pm and 2:28pm, with Express trains running every 10 minutes and locals running every 12 minutes. SEPTA reported nearly 9,700 riders at Pattison station for Saturday's Vick-timization of the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Series game. Unlike this past weekend, there will tentatively be no Navy Yard shuttle to the Vet.

  • MORE ON CHESTNUT STREET Several news outlets have reported that the closing of the 500 block of Chestnut (around the Independence Mall area) is costing SEPTA nearly $500,000 in added expenses, based on the re-routing of the 9, 21, 38, and 42 buses off of Chestnut. Currently, there is no SEPTA service on Chestnut east of 7 St, which essentially negates the entire reconstruction of Chestnut. The closing of Chestnut is drawing a lot of opposition, including from City Councilman (and vocal critic of Emperor Street) Frank DiCicco, whose son Christian is a SEPTA Board member. Interesting tidbit: Despite all the complaining from SEPTA - all of it justified - most of SEPTA's positions on Chestnut (and for that matter, most other major issues) are being advanced by Chief Spokesman/Apologist/Liar Richard Maloney, instead of by Fearless Leader, or even some high ranking AGM. It does seem rather bizarre that the chief executive officer of the nation's 5th largest transit system can't be bothered to address these issues on her own. Then again, this is SEPTA...

  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... The SEPTA Board (more specifically, SEPTA management) thumbed it's collective nose at the people of Fox Chase and Lawndale at last month's board meeting by approving a plan to allow single track operations along the R8 Fox Chase line between Newtown Jct and Cheltenham Jct, near the Cheltenham station. SEPTA's decision effectively will give CSX the right to remove the catenary from the outbound tracks, preventing double track service from ever being restored. DiCicco, gubernatorial appointee Robert Wooten, and board Vice Chairman James Schwartzman voted against the proposal. This could be a precursor for SEPTA doing the same thing on the R3 West Trenton between Neshaminy Falls and West Trenton. However, considering the R3 section in question is on the home turf of SEPTA Board Chairman/Radio Impressario/Turnpike Commissioner/Land Developer Extraordinaire (did I leave anything out?) Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. - Bucks County - then I don't think that's ever going to happen. Stay tuned...
  • Monday, January 13, 2003

  • SCHEDULE CHANGES DELAYED The City Transit schedules will not change until February 23; the original schedule change date was to have been February 16, however computer difficulties have forced a one week delay. In the suburbs, the schedules at Red Arrow will be delayed from February until March 23, while the Frontier schedule changes will be moved up a month from April to the same date as Red Arrow. The reason for the date changes in the suburbs is due to planned detours on the 124/125 as part of the I-76 reconstruction in Upper Merion.

  • 5600s ARE COMING The third batch of the original order of 300 New Flyers are tenatively scheduled to arrive within the next two weeks. The first 45 buses (5613-5667) will now go to Southern with the remainder set to go to Frontier and Midvale. It's highly likely that the next 10 buses in that group (5668-5677) will end up at Frontier, which should expedite the removal of those dangerous Fords from service, and the remainder (5678-5712) to Midvale. As reported earlier, expect a lot of major movements over the next few months, with some NABIs expected to head to the suburbs to replace the 3000s and older 3100s.

  • DAYS NUMBERED FOR FORDS With some ElDorados being moved from Midvale and Callowhill to Frontier over the past few weeks, some of the 2029-2051 series Fords assigned to Frontier have been taken off the road. On a related note, the replacement cutaways should be going to bid within the next couple of months.

  • MORE LOW FLOORS DUE NEXT YEAR SEPTA recieved four bids for the next batch of 340 low floor buses, which would begin arriving starting next year. The four bids came from NABI, Neoplan, New Flyer, and Orion. The bid should be awarded as early as next month.

  • SHUTTLE UPDATES Extra Rail Power Shuttle buses were added to accomodate passengers travelling to the Auto Show at the Convention Center over the weekend, with buses from Callowhill and Southern handling the 30 St to Market East shuttles and Allegheny buses covering the Airport Line shuttles. Because both Allegheny and Midvale were stretched thin on available artics on Saturday, the buses used on the Navy Yard shuttles were from Southern. Assuming a similar shuttle will be in place for Sundays Iggles-Bucs game, there should be enough buses available at Allegheny and Midvale to allow artics to be used.

  • CHESTNUT STREET CALL TO ACTION SEPTA is leading the call to convince Philadelphia Mayor/Emperor John Street to form a task force to study traffic flow around the Independence National Park area, following Emperor Street's decision to permanently close Chestnut between 5 and 6 Sts to all vehicles and pedestrians. The 9 was moved off of Chestnut onto Market for the entire length between 30 St and 4 St, as was the 38, while the 21 and 42 remain on Chestnut before heading onto Market via 7 St.

  • 128 NOTES A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 13 in Bensalem Twp to approve a route modification on the 128 along the US 13 (Bristol Pike) corridor. The experimental routing via US 13, Hulmeville Rd, and PA 132 (Street Rd) took the 128 off of a poorly patronized segment along Mechanicsville Rd. The hearing will take place at the Maltese Room, 2049 Bristol Pike, Bensalem Twp. On a somewhat related note, word has come down that the 128 and 129 buses are not to operate into the Bucks County Office Center - which is where the Department of Public Welfare offices for southern Bucks County are located - complex at New Rodgers Rd (PA 413) and Rockview Dr in Bristol Twp. The last time I was out there (about 2 months ago), I noticed construction within the complex, which now forces passengers en route to the complex to board along PA 413.
  • Sunday, January 12, 2003

  • COMEDY OF ERRORS Whomever was the supervisor in charge at Pattison Station is deserving of a job in the NFL as a traveling secretary ... for the Cincinnati Bengals. For that matter, if (more likely, when) Fearless Leader ever gets the boot from her job as SEPTA's General Mis-Manager, she could probably work for the Bengals after SEPTA's poor performance after the Iggles game last night.

    At around 11:40pm, shortly before the end of the game, two trains were at the platform at Pattison about to depart for Fern Rock - a local and an express. The local departed about a minute before the express train, making for a very slow non-stop ride between Pattison and Walnut-Locust. Memo to SEPTA: The idea of express service is to provide a faster ride between two points, not just simply to offer non-stop service. Sending a local train ahead of an express train between Pattison and Walnut-Locust defeats the purpose of an express train.

    As for the Navy Yard shuttle, only New Flyers and NABIs - most likely from Southern, though the NABIs could've come from Midvale - were used as opposed to the Neoplan artics which were used during the X Games/Phils vs. Cardinals weekend for the Navy Yard shuttle. Memo to SEPTA: If you're expecting large crowds at the Navy Yard, at the very least, it would be cheaper to use 3-4 artics instead of 6 40-ft buses.

    On the El, promises of 10 minute headways were obviously not kept. Both eastbound and westbound El trains were held at 15 St until 12:05am, with the westbound train held for about 10 minutes. This made connections to some of the Red Arrow buses - particularly the 104 and 109 very dicey at best. Memo to SEPTA: Extra service on the El does not mean simply running train service an extra hour without adding headways. And while you're at it, why not use the same policy that WMATA has for feeder buses at their Metrorail stations: To wit, the last trips on the 102, 104, and 109 are not to depart until the very last El train has arrived. I'm sure there were some 104 and 109 passengers who were left stranded because SEPTA is too lazy to either add an extra trip or hold the last buses 5-10 minutes.

    Let's put it this way. My evening at the Iggles game was wonderful until I took SEPTA on the trip back to West Chester. It never fails. SEPTA always seems to come up short when it comes to transporting sports fans in general. SEPTA can brag about how many Flyers, Iggles, and motocross fans used the Broad Street Line, but they don't tell you that service is inconsistent and uneven at best.
  • Saturday, January 11, 2003

  • EXTRA RAIL SERVICE SEPTA has announced that extra rail service will be added on several Regional Rail lines tomorrow night to accomodate Eagles traffic. The extra departures will be on the R2 Warminster (12:20am), R2 Marcus Hook (12:20am), R3 Elwyn (12:30am), R5 Doylestown (12:15am), and R7 Trenton (12:15am). This is in addition to regularly scheduled service on the R3 West Trenton and R5 Thorndale lines. More details will be posted (hopefully) tomorrow. In addition, SEPTA plans to add extra service on the El on Saturday evening following the game. El service will operate at least every 10 minutes during the evening until the start of Owl service, which may be delayed until 1:00am to accomodate extra Eagles related traffic. Finally, 12 Sports Express trains between Fern Rock and Pattison will operate between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
  • Friday, January 10, 2003

  • DARBY FIRE DELAYS TROLLEYS A major fire on Main St in Darby Borough is forcing bus-titution on the 11 between Woodland & Island and Darby Loop. The fire broke out at Hampton's Auto Service at 17 Main St, Darby Borough, at around 5:00am this morning. In addition to the body shop, several apartments were also destroyed in the blaze, leaving 15 people homeless. The closing of Main St near the city line is also causing problems for pull-ins and pull-outs on the 13, which normally operate west on Main St to 9 St, then enter revenue service at Darby before travelling on to Yeadon and Center City.
  • Thursday, January 09, 2003

  • VERY, VERY LUCKY... Fate was apparently smiling on a Bucks County man on Sunday night. According to the Courier-Times, the unidentified male was traveling southbound on PA 413 near the Langhorne Rail Station in Penndel at around 9:10pm when his car reportedly stalled on the tracks. As his car stalled, the #4169 R3 West Trenton (8:58pm from West Trenton) train bound for Center City and the Airport was approaching the Langhorne Rail Station. Thanks to quick action by Middletown (Bucks) police and Bucks County dispatchers, the #4169 was able to stop about 150 feet short of the PA 413 crossing. Few details were available, however police in Middletown (Bucks) were reportedly preparing to file charges, stating that alcohol was probably a factor. To say this guy was lucky is a major, major understatement...
  • Wednesday, January 08, 2003

  • OF LITTLE HELP... The City of Philadelphia is sponsoring a free SEPTA shuttle bus between the Navy Yard and the Sports Complex starting at 3:00pm until all fans have cleared the complex following the Eagles game. While it's certainly helpful for those who are driving to the Sports Complex on Saturday, it does very little good for those Regional Rail riders on the ex-PRR side who have to get off at 30 St station, then transfer to a shuttle bus or the El, then transfer again to the Broad Street Subway. On the bright side, SEPTA has suspended Saturday's scheduled trackwork on the El between 30 and 40 Sts which would have involved single track operations between the two stations.

    Broad Street line trains - including local and express trains - are scheduled to run every 5 minutes prior to kickoff and shortly after the game. Though, having experienced SEPTA's management of Pattison after a typical regular season game, I would doubt very highly that the schedule can be met...
  • Monday, January 06, 2003

  • EL TROUBLES As of 11:30am, the Market-Frankford El ran buses between 30 St and 40 St due to a jumper at 34 St. Anthony E. Murray, 55, of Collingswood, NJ, apparently committed suicide at the 34 St station by jumping in front of an eastbound El train. By around 12:00pm, service was partially restored as both eastbound and westbound trains were alternating using the westbound track, with normal service resuming shortly after 1:30pm. Apparently, it was such a big news story that, according to my research on the Google news search database, at least 28 news outlets across the country and the British newspaper The Guardian have posted the AP story.

  • BUSY DAY AT PATTISON The Broad Street Line's Pattison Station will be a very place on Saturday, as the Flyers take on the Detroit Red Wings in a 1:00pm regionally televised game (seen locally on "The People's Republic of 6-ABC"). Then, at 8:00pm, the Eagles will (hopefully) make short work of the visiting Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Series playoff game at the Vet (and, yes, I will be there, in Section 707). But wait, there's more... At the same time that the Iggles are making the Falcons the next "Vick-tim" on the road to San Diego, a motocross event will be taking place at the Spectrum on that same night, also starting at around 8:00pm. Expect the Pattison station area to be very busy starting at around 4:00pm with Flyers fans leaving and Eagles fans arriving. By 7:00pm, expect very crowded trains heading southbound to Pattison, with Eagles and motocross fans arriving at Pattison station en masse (not to mention those foolish enough to drive to the Sports Complex in search of very limited parking). Approximately 75,000 people are expected to be in the area of the Sports Complex on Saturday night.
    SEPTA will most likely add several express trains between Fern Rock and Pattison, starting at around 4:30pm; the gates to the Vet will open at 5:30pm. Making commuting even more challenging though Center City is the Rail Power Project shuttle buses, which will effectively cut off Suburban Station from the PRR side lines (Wilmington/Marcus Hook, Elwyn, Thorndale, Trenton, and Chestnut Hill West). Also, ridership on the Regional Rail lines is expected to be higher than expected (3-4 car trains are likely on the larger lines, especially the Thorndale, Lansdale, Trenton, Chestnut Hill East, and West Trenton lines, just as it was last weekend for the Mummer's Parade), particularly on the RDG side lines (Glenside, Warminster, West Trenton, Lansdale, Norristown, Chestnut Hill East, and Fox Chase), where service will terminate at Suburban.
    As noted on Friday, the easy solution would be for SEPTA to suspend the Rail Power Project shuttles until next weekend, since the Center City services are most likely going to be well above capacity on Saturday. I mean, it took SEPTA many years to finally replace the catenary and support structures along the 22 St Viaduct, so one more weekend isn't going to kill anyone - at least I would hope not. In any case...
    Passengers using the Regional Rail system on Saturday may want to consider buying a "TurboPass" for $8.00. It is essentially a regular DayPass, however it allows unlimited rides on the Regional Rail system as opposed to a single ride for a standard DayPass. The TurboPass is available at the 15 St Concourse, 69 St Terminal, and Olney Terminal sales offices, the Transit Museum Store at 1234 Market, and at all Railroad Stations (Center City and outlying stations).

  • NJ TRANSIT CHANGES There are several major adjustments to NJT schedules in South Jersey. Here are some of the highlights of the new timetables, which took effect on Saturday:

      • ROUTE 313 will now be rerouted through Glassboro to offer direct service to the Rowan University campus; service will begin operating to the new Vineland Transportation Center at 2 St and Landis Av, replacing the current Vineland Bus Terminal at 4 St and Landis Av starting next month.
      • ROUTE 400 will see new service to the Pennco Tech campus in Blackwood, timed mainly to the class start and end times; the end of the line in Turnersville will be extended to the intersection of Sicklerville Rd and Thousand Oaks Dr; a new "holiday" schedule has been introduced, which will be issued as a separate timetable from the regular schedule, and be in effect on Martin Luther King Day (January 20), President's Day (February 17), and the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 28) (this practice is common on a lot of the heavier NJT bus lines operating between North Jersey and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan; this is the first time that I know of that NJT has done this for a South Jersey line).
      • ROUTE 403 service to Winslow Plaza has been eliminated.
      • On ROUTE 406, the 5:10pm express to Medford Lakes has been eliminated and replaced with a 5:10pm (formerly 5:12pm) to Virtua Hospital/Marlton.
      • ROUTE 408 will begin service to the new Vineland Transportation Center next month.
      • ROUTE 409 trips to Trenton will be re-routed in downtown Trenton to operate via Montgomery St instead of Stockton St between Front St and E State St.


      • ROUTE 459 will see minor time adjustments.
      • ROUTE 463 will see adjusted departure times from Avandale Park and Ride to Woodbury.
      • ROUTE 468 will see three new weekday trips which will now serve Downtown Quinton and the Maryville Clinic, via NJ 49, Sickler St, New St, and Cottage Av.


      • ROUTES 501, 504, and 508 will see minor time adjustments.
      • ROUTE 502 will see a new 6:50am departure from Atlantic City to Atlantic/Cape Community College, a new 8:09am departure from Pleasantville to A/CCC, and added Sunday short turn trips from the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Twp will depart at 3:30pm and 4:30pm; the 7:09am departure from Shore Mall will now originate at A/CCC at 6:32am.
      • ROUTE 553 service to Upper Deerfield will be re-routed in Bridgeton to operate via NJ 49, Bank St, McCormick Pl, and NJ 77; the 12:20am from Bridgeton will be extended to Upper Deerfield and depart 7 minutes later.
      • ROUTE 559 service to New Gretna has been temporarily discontinued due to a detour routing over the Bass River Bridge; buses will be detoured off of US 9 between Mathistown Rd and the Garden State Parkway intersection south of New Gretna; the 559 will resume it's routing over the Nacote Creek Bridge between Smithville and Port Republic, ending the detour via Moss Mill Rd.


      • ROUTE 600 weekday service between 10:00am and 2:00pm will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 75 minutes due to low ridership.
      • ROUTE 601 service will be extended to the new Hamilton Marketplace complex; Saturday service is reduced from hourly to every 75 minutes; Sunday service is increased from every 2 hours to every 75 minutes.
      • ROUTE 603 weekday service which terminated at Groveville will now be extended to serve the Hamilton Marketplace; all weekend service will also serve Hamilton Marketplace.
      • ROUTE 606 service will be extended to serve the Hamilton Marketplace; a new holiday timetable will be implemented on this line.
  • Thursday, January 02, 2003

  • DUMB AND DUMBER A South Philadelphia teenager was taken to Children's Hospital after a horrifying accident involving a 29 bus along Tasker St on Monday afternoon. The 15 year old male was reportedly skating along Tasker and grabbed the rear bumber of a SEPTA bus, then lost his grip and slid underneath the bus before being struck by a tractor trailer. The victim suffered major injuries to the lower half of his body.

  • GOOD NEWS, FOR ONCE Thanks to the postponement of the Mummer's Parade from Wednesday to Saturday, SEPTA will operate normal Regional Rail service between Center City stations and along the R1 Airport Line. Shuttle service is expected to resume on the weekend of January 11-12, however with increased ridership expected due to the Eagles playoff game that weekend, plus the Philadelphia Auto Show at the Convention Center from January 11-18, I would hope that SEPTA has some common sense and not run the shuttles again until the weekend of January 25-26. Of course, this being SEPTA, I wouldn't count on it.