Monday, July 07, 2003

MIXED BAG ON SCHEDULES The 95 is not operating to the IKEA in the Market Place at Plymouth Center complex in Plymouth Twp, as was supposed to have happened today. The 95 was to have operated via Ridge Pk and Alan Wood Rd to Market Place, then via Alan Wood, Seven Stars Rd, and Gallager Rd to Metroplex, and on route to Plymouth Meeting Mall and Penn Square. Whether this decision came from SEPTA, Plymouth Township officials, or the shopping center's management is unclear at this time. My gut feeling is that someone at SEPTA once again dropped the ball; in fact, there was nothing noted about this last minute change in today's SEPTA Page in the Philadelphia Metro paper, nor is there anything posted about it on the SEPTA web site. Meanwhile, new Sunday service was supposed to start operating between Conshohocken and Plymouth Meeting Mall is still tentatively slated to start, but that hasn't been finalized. Peak hour 95 service between Gulph Mills and the Conshohocken Rail Station has finally been reduced to 15 minutes in order to match P&W schedules (even though P&W service was reduced from 12 to 15 minutes nearly a year ago).

On a related note, southbound 92 trips to Parkway Shopping Center is only operating via Gay, New, and Market Sts by request only. Northbound trips will still loop to New & Market Sts. It appears that SEPTA has streamlined the number of buses used on the 92/133 as the 6016 block covered the 1:25pm departure from West Chester, which was formally covered by 6019 block; 6019 block now appears to start its run as the 3:00pm 133 to King of Prussia as opposed to the first trip on 6019 block departing King of Prussia at 12:00pm. This is apparently resulting in only 6 vehicles being used over the course of the day as opposed to 8 during the last sign-ups.

At Red Arrow, the only major changes are the seasonal suspension of school trippers on the 108 and 115 and the limited weekday only schedule on the 120 to Cheyney.

MONEY NOT WELL $PENT If you were wondering how SEPTA managed to get into a nearly $41 million hole to start the fiscal year off, a perfect example can be found at the corner of Broad and Pattison, and on telecasts of Phillies home games. Between the really stupid "Race to the Vet" animations during pitching changes (one features a red Neoplan "racing" a blue Neoplan down Broad St; the second one features a red Broad St subway car "racing" a blue BSS car underneath Broad St) and the so-called "Commuter Choice" graphics that appear sporadically during Phillies home telecasts on Comcast SportsNet and UPN 57, that certainly cost SEPTA a lot of money. As in money that could've been used on Saturday to accomodate nearly 50,000 angry Phillies fans and thousands more spectators returning from the Penn's Landing fireworks. There was no additional El service heading westbound to 69 St Terminal, but about 20 minutes after the fireworks ended at the Vet, there was an extra eastbound train to Bridge-Pratt that had apparently been deadheaded to 15 St/City Hall.

Then, after Sunday's game, there was a 3-4 minute gap at Pattison where there were no trains on the platform at all. Nice planning, SEPTA. Those stupid "Race to the Vet" fillers are worthless if you don't run a sufficient amount of service to avoid alienating your remaining riders.

Then again, a lack of adequate subway-elevated service following special events either at the Sports Complex or in Center City has been a major problem for SEPTA over the past several years. Same thing with the subway-surface lines, especially after the "Hurry Up and Go Home, America!" fireworks on the Parkway, where long lines have stretched as far as half a block out of the 19 St and 22 St subway-surface stations onto Market St. But, SEPTA still manages to waste money on frivolous and pointless advertising. Amazing...

NORRISTOWN DELAYS The 9:05pm departures at Norristown Transportation Center were delayed 7 minutes tonight. While no reason was given (this was heard over the radio system on board one of the buses), it appears that there was a delay on the R6 Norristown line earlier this evening. More info if and/or when it becomes available...

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