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...

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.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Apparently, the problems on the 104 on Tuesday night were worse than I originally thought. According to some regular riders of the 11:05pm West Chester to 69 St run (4241 block), a replacement bus never made it to West Chester to cover the 11:05pm trip. Apparently, one of the buses seen heading up West Chester Pike was deadheading to another route, while a second bus which was presumed to be covering 4241 block apparently only made it to Broomall or Newtown Square. This might explain why there weren't as many people who arrived at 69 St on the horribly late 11:12pm run.

Okay, let's assume that the operator arrived at 69 St from West Chester to cover the 10:12pm return trip to West Chester (probably late, since this operator is notoriously late over the course of the entire night). If there was a problem with that bus, even if the operator was 10-15 minutes late getting in, at the very least, there is an obligation to nofify the Control Center that there's a problem with the bus. Even if the problem wasn't reported until arrival at 69 St, it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to get a bus out of the Red Arrow yard to 69 St Terminal proper. Unless of course you're a supervisor who is either (a) ignorant, (b) asleep on the job, or (c) a combination of both, there's no reason not to have a replacement bus ready to cover the 10:12pm departure to West Chester. Even if that bus leaves 10-15 minutes late, there's still no reason not to cover the full run to West Chester and leave several passengers between West Chester and Newtown Square standed in a near monsoon.

Yet, this is the 104 we're dealing with, which is supposed to be one of the major lines out of 69 St, but is almost treated as irrelevant. Of course, I wouldn't expect Fearless Leader or any of the Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market to try and find a solution...


As reported earlier, the 203 will be eliminated next week, due to a combination of the ending of CMAQ funding and hideously low ridership. Also, Saturday service on the 206 will be cut, and the 99 will no longer operate between Royersford and Pottstown, due to the ending of US 202/Section 400 Congestion Mitigation Strategies funding. More changes will be reported as information becomes available.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


As had been reported last month, SEPTA is losing nearly $800,000 per week, on top of the $41 million budget defecit at the start of the Fiscal Year. Now, SEPTA is reportedly sponsoring a Philadelphia Kixx "magnetic schedule" giveaway as part of the Kixx' home opener on November 1. Wow. Half the time, SEPTA can't keep it's buses on schedule, but they can somehow afford to pay for magnetic schedules for a minor-league professional indoor soccer team. I wonder how much money SEPTA is wasting on being a major sponsor of the Philadelphia Kixx. That money might be better spent making sure enough buses are available for peak hour service instead of being stuck in the garage due to parts shortages...

The Inquirer reports that SEPTA won it's court case over a disgruntled bidder regarding the reconstrction of the Market St El. Conti Enterprises of Middlesex County, N.J. sued SEPTA over the awarding of the contract to Neshaminy Constructors, Inc. of Feasterville and Granite Construction of California. The judge determined that the injunction that Conti was seeking would've been too much of a burden on the taxpayers:

[T]he "public will benefit if the Stations Project is not delayed by further litigation."

Additionally, the judge ruled that Conti "does not have sufficient "taxpayer standing" in Pennsylvania, O'Neill wrote, to pursue the claim in U.S. District Court." Now, if this were a ruling by a Common Pleas Court judge, that might make sense, but this is a FEDERAL court we're talking about there.

Yet, given Don Pasquale's past involvement as a land developer in Bucks County (among other things), one can't help but wonder how close the owners of Neshaminy Constructors are to the SEPTA Board Chairman...


In yesterday's editions, the Delaware County Daily Times followed up on a story in Friday's editions with a strong editorial demanding that two CAC members from Delaware County, whose terms expired several years ago, be replaced. While noting that the two members in question have contributed (at least as much as can be expected, given the sorry state of the CAC), the Daily Times called upon Delaware County Council to replace the members. Good luck. Anyone who has followed Delaware County politics for a long time knows how big an uphill battle this will be...

As a follow-up to yesterday's fiasco on the 104, 5588 (apparently covering 4241 block) arrived into 69 St Terminal at 12:10am ... right as the last El train was departing for Bridge-Pratt. Needless to say, it was another slap in the face for 104 passengers who had to endure a lengthy wait in near monsoon like conditions late at night. To make things worse, the operator pulled into South Terminal and parked at the 113 bus berth, which is the furthest away from the Main Terminal building. A second New Flyer (it was a 5400-series bus) pulled out of West Terminal shortly thereafter (I was able to see it as I was on the 65 heading to Overbrook). Gee, I wonder if SEPTA's Customer Dis-Services offices got a lot of complaints over this latest fiasco...

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse on the 104, they get much worse...

Earlier tonight, the operator of 4241 block - generally one of the least reliable operators on the line in recent memory, as the 11:05pm trip from West Chester is usually 10-15 minutes late every night - took her bus out of service due to foggy windows. At least that was the report from a couple of irate passengers, who had been waiting for the 10:12pm from 69 St to West Chester. The passengers had arrived at 69 St at around 9:20pm and were returning to West Chester University.

According to the people I spoke to, at least two buses passed through the terminal without picking anyone up. A 3400-series Neo and a 5500-series New Flyer were spotted heading west on West Chester Pike at I was arriving on 5595 (4299 block). Both buses were empty, with the Flyer being completely dark. When 4299 block left 69 St at 11:12pm to work his regular run, he had a standing load, which is highly unusual for that particular trip. It also didn't help that there were quite a few WCU students returning to campus from Fall Break, nor that it has been raining heavily for the past hour in Upper Darby.

Here's where things get really ridiculous. The people I had spoken to who were waiting for nearly two hours at 69 St Terminal told me that there were no supervisors sent to the platform to explain what was going on. Shortly after 11:00pm, I may have stumbled onto a reason why...

Parked on Garrett Rd near Market St was a SEPTA supervisor's van - SUB8454 - with lights on, engine running, and wipers working. The supervisor in question, who is not the nicest person to deal with in the world (an automatic qualification to become a "rotating resume at 1234 Market") was asleep. Yes, you read that right, he was asleep, while nearly 60 passengers were waiting for a 104 bus that never showed up - not to mention the dozens of soaked passengers waiting along West Chester Pike between West Chester and Upper Darby, many of whom have to race to the El to try and catch that last train to being with thanks to the laziness of the regular operator of 4241 block. When I asked him about the 104 problems, I was basically told off in terms not fit for a family web site. I guess I shouldn't have woke him up from his nap, but taking a nap while on the taxpayer's dime is generally a good way to get yourself fired ... especially when you get caught.


According to a very reliable source, the message boards at Market East crashed around 7:00pm Monday night. Despite attempts by riders to find out what was going on, both staff at Market East and SEPTA's Ministry of Mis-information stonewalled passengers whose only apparent crime was wondering what the hell was going on with a relatively new message board system, which had been installed less than three years ago.

Monday, October 13, 2003


SEPTA's latest attempt to promote public transportation - Communities in Motion week, which essentially replaces what was once known as "Try Transit Week" - seems to be sending mixed messages. SEPTA's web site states the following:

SEPTA will host a variety of events throughout our five-county service region, including rider appreciation events at selected locations in every county.

Fine. Except the only events listed are as follows:

Tuesday, 14 Oct: SEPTA and the TMA of Delaware County (sic) will unveil a mobile information center at Government Hall. Delaware County will also present a proclamation recognizing Communities in Motion

This event takes place at Media Courthouse at 10:00am.

Wednesday, 15 Oct: SEPTA and Montgomery County Community College will mark the full implementation of wheelchair accessible bus service to the county

This event takes place at Montgomery County CC's main campus in Whitpain, starting at 10:00am.

Same day: Safety Blitz targeted to local high school students regarding track safety

The safety blitz will take place at the Lansdowne Av trolley station on the 101/Media and 102/Sharon Hill lines, and is geared towards students at Upper Darby, Archbishop Prendegast, and Monsignor Bonner High Schools.

Thursday, 16 Oct: SEPTA will display a hybrid bus, and the first refurbished PCC-II car for the Route 15 Trolley Line scheduled to begin service in 2004.

The display will be at 12 St/Filbert St starting at 10:00am.

And that's it. There are no events listed for Bucks or Chester Counties. Someone should explain to SEPTA's Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney that there are 5 counties in the SEPTA operating area, not 3 counties. But...

SEPTA is listing three of it's regularly scheduled SEPTA On Site events as being "in conjunction with APTA" as part of the Communities In Motion events. The three in question are:

Tuesday, 14 Oct: Paoli Rail Station
Wednesday, 15 Oct: Darby Terminal
Thursday, 16 Oct: Cornwells Heights Rail Station

Even though the times for the SEPTA On Site events are longer than usual (6:00am to 10:00am as opposed to the standard 6:30am to 8:30am on the Regional Rail side), that seems like lip service compared to the other events in Media, Drexel Hill, Blue Bell, and Center City.

Besides, SEPTA routinely conducts safety blitzes throughout the system, though many go unpublicized. In fact, there was a safety blitz scheduled for Lansdowne Av which took place not too long after Prendie and Bonner re-opened for the start of the school year. And, SEPTA On Site events take place throughout the year. So, why are these events for this week classified as being part of an overall campaign to promote transit when most of the people targeted are already using SEPTA?

I don't know. Maybe it's just laziness on SEPTA's part...

(And while we're on the subject of SEPTA On Site, how is it that the people who run SEPTA's web site can put the SEPTA On Site schedule in PDF format, but not the route timetables? Would that be too much to ask?)


Due to the reconstruction of the Bethlehem Pike bridge over the R5 Lansdale line, the 94 will be detoured off of Bethlehem Pike for the next few months. Both the local and express routings will be on a special detour route during the reconstruction. A special timetable reflecting the detour route will take effect next Monday.

Sunday, October 12, 2003


As if Don Pasquale (aka Pasquale T. Deon, Sr.) didn't have enough state government dealings on his plate, here's something that I stumbled onto after a search of Google. It appears that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently entered into a 5 year lease to operate Wine and Spirits Shoppe #0911 (or what most people refer to as "State Stores"), located at 510 S Oxford Valley Rd in the Fairless Hills district of Bristol Twp. Pasquale Deon is listed as the lessor. You won't believe what's located next to State Store #0911 - Pat Deon Beverages, which is located at 500 S Oxford Valley Rd.

The lease, which was approved by the Board of Commissioners of Public Grounds and Buildings on April 24, took effect on May 2. The 5,000 square foot building is being leased to the LCB at as cost of $13.94 per square foot and $5,810/month.

Hmmm. Curiouser and curiouser we get...

The Executive Director and four members of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission are being targeted by legislatures in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania following reports that Executive Director Frank McCartney - a SEPTA Board member appointed by House Republicans - and four Commissioners recieved gifts from vendors in exchange for an EZPass related contract.

The DRJTBC operates several bridges along the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, inluding the US 1 bridge between Morrisville and Trenton and the US 202 bridge between New Hope and Lambertville.

Five leaders of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission last year dined in Florida and played golf at the Ritz Carlton's Tiburon course at the expense of contractors who went on to win millions of dollars in agency business.

The favors accepted by Executive Director Frank G. McCartney and four commissioners are the latest instance to be uncovered in a pattern of resort activities and commission parties paid for in 2002 by contractors that won E-ZPass contracts during an invitation-only bidding process that year.

The commission said that, although the cost of meals and golf were picked up by contractors, the agency paid for airfare, lodging and other expenses — for a total of about $5,000 for the trip. The commission said it does not know the value of the gifts.

The contractors who provided the favors during an April 2002 trip are TransCore of Hummelstown, Dauphin County, and Washington Group International, which has an office in Princeton, N.J.

They subsequently received more than $10 million in commission business.

''This incident is really appalling,'' said state Sen. Lisa Boscola, a Democrat who represents parts of Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe counties. ''We have a long way to go as we reform this agency.''

Boscola is among a group of legislators supporting measures in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey legislatures that would force the commission to open its records of travel expenses and other commission business to public inspection.

The commission's bidding process is already under review by the 10 commissioners who oversee the agency. They have promised to release the findings of that review at their meeting (September 29) in New Hope.

The review was announced after The Morning Call reported in June that E-ZPass contractors also paid for meals and golf at resorts in Hilton Head, S.C., last year. The commission has also acknowledged that the vendors paid for a December party at the Trenton Country Club.

E-ZPass was implemented on the agency's 20 bridges, spanning an area between Bucks County and the New York state line, in November — the same time that tolls were increased by up to 400 percent.

Both trips came to light slowly because information for both trips did not appear in travel records the commission voluntarily provided to reporters at the end of 2002. McCartney said through a staffer at the commission's public affairs consultant, The Bravo Group of Harrisburg, the omissions were ''oversights.''

In addition to McCartney, New Jersey Commissioners Harry Parkin and Gloria Decker and former Pennsylvania Commissioners Hal Saxton and Daniel Wassmer traveled to Florida on the trip that also included visits to two toll authorities that use E-ZPass-like electronic toll collection systems.

The toll authority released the Florida information in a letter to The Morning Call after the newspaper asked about the trip.

The New Jersey Executive Commission on Ethical Standards enforces the state's conflicts of interest law prohibiting gifts from vendors to New Jersey bridge commissioners. It is investigating the Hilton Head trip and the Trenton Country Club party.

The Pennsylvania commissioners who accepted the favors were replaced when Gov. Ed Rendell's five appointees arrived in February. Pennsylvania's commissioners are not regulated by the state's conflicts of interest rules, but the Rendell-appointed commissioners have said they will voluntarily comply with a ban on vendor gifts.

Saxton and Wassmer, the former Pennsylvania commissioners who participated in the trip, said they were not aware of payment arrangements for the golf and meals and that payment arrangements for the trip were arranged by McCartney.

Decker, the former mayor of Phillipsburg, said, ''All of my expenses, as far as I know, were paid for by the commission.''

Parkin, who leads the New Jersey delegation, did not return phone calls made to his office where he serves as chief of staff to Mercer County Executive Robert Prunetti.

Wassmer said the commission bypassed local E-ZPass systems to visit the Florida systems because New Jersey was having problems with its system at the time and because TransCore, the firm the commission wanted to use for its own project, had not done E-ZPass work in Pennsylvania.

TransCore and the Washington Group won their E-ZPass contracts at the commission through an invitation-only bidding process. Unlike the Pennsylvania and New Jersey departments of transportation, the commission does not typically open contract competitions to all qualified contractors.

The commission's letter said both contractors paid for meals and TransCore also paid for a ''golf outing.''

Saxton said the outing occurred at the Ritz Cartlon's Tiburon golf course in Naples, Fla. The 36-hole course was designed by PGA star Greg Norman. - Allentown Morning Call; 27 September 2003 (article is not available at Morning Call website)

Wow, a SEPTA Board member involved in a contract controversy. That couldn't possibly happen, could it? It's interesting how irrelevant the DRJTBC is in the Philadelphia area - at least when compared to the Delaware River Port Authority. Yet, it seems that some of the same patronage and cronyism takes place in Morrisville (headquarters of the DRJTBC) as it does in Camden. And, for that matter, at 1234 Market...

Friday's Delaware County Daily Times followed up on an earlier Inquirer story regarding the high number of vacancies and members with expired terms on SEPTA's Citizens Advisory Committee. Two of the members listed as serving beyond their allotted terms are from Delaware County.


Forget about the playoffs. After the team's poor performance against Dallas, I would start thinking about who's going to replace Andy Reid next season. Reid's crappy play calling has apparently exposed the fact that Donovan McNabb is one of the most inaccurate passers in the NFL, the "talent" at the skill positions (running back and wide reciever) is thin, and the defense has been mailing it in the past few weeks. Don't even get me started on how bad the kick return coverage teams have been in the last two games, especially late in the game. Oh, and how about that onside kick to start the game? How stupid was that?

To make matter worse, they lost to the hated Cowgirls, which is almost a criminal offense in Iggles Nation. Hell, if the Iggles lose to the Cowgirls at "The New $512 million, Partially Taxpayer Subsidized License for Lurie and Banner to Gouge Prices at 11 St and Pattison Av", then Reid ought to be fired on the spot. It's bad enough when the Iggles lose, but losing to the Cowgirls is even worse than death (well, almost).

By the way, those away game parties that the Iggles sponsor are fairly dull. The only real excitement at today's Iggles Away Game Party at Casey's in Drexel Hill was a bar fight - in which 8 Upper Darby police cars arrived; they seem to be used to that place, there always seems to be some mention every month or so of fights there in the Daily Times police blotter - that sent two to the hospital and a third man to jail. Nice.

I know that last item has nothing to do with SEPTA, but I am not in a good mood right now...

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


The money drain that is the 203 bus may be running its last miles this month. The early indications are that the 203 will either be scaled back or eliminated entirely due to poor ridership. Weekday ridership in the most recent quarter (April through June) has fallen to under 50 passenger trips per day. The 203, which connects the Woodbourne Rail Station on the R3 West Trenton line with Oxford Valley Mall and Bucks County Office Park in Middletown (Bucks), had been funded in part by a CMAQ grant, which is set to expire at the end of this month.

According to inside sources, a SEPTA Board member recently rode the 203, and was the only person on the bus for the entire round trip, save for the operator. It would not be a shock if elimination of the 203 - which may have been well intentioned, but a total failure - comes up as part of next month's SEPTA Board meeting, with the elimination or reduction in service to take place as early as October 27, when timetables change for Frontier routes.


It turns out there are quite a few buses out of service due to accidents or missing parts. As noted earlier, several artics from Midvale are out of service due to parts shortages (7210, 7211, 7214, 7221, and 7251 were confirmed to be awaiting parts) or accidents (7212 and 7252). Two ElDorados from Frontier - 4519 and 4528 are out due to accidents, as is Red Arrow 5317. Callowhill's 5275 is out due to fire damage, as was Southern 5399.

Some New Flyers are also out of service for various reasons. Southern 5597 was returned to the New Flyer factory for various repairs, while 5637 is out due to a damaged engine block. And, in what can only be described as very strange, Midvale 5684 is reportedly being used as a "parts bus," complete with stripped windows. 5684 has only been on SEPTA property for a few months, and already, it's being stripped of most of its parts.

Hopefully that $15 million in flexible highway funding that will be transferred to SEPTA will go towards getting most of these buses back on the road.


The Daily News reported in yesterday's editions that the lawsuit filed by a construction group which lost a bid to reconstruct the Market Street El despite a lower bid is underway. Testimony is being taken in federal court in which Conti Enterprises, which submitted a bid of $138 million, accuses SEPTA of favoritism by granting the contract to Market Street Constructors, a group which includes the Bucks County based Neshaminy Constructors, whose bid was $1 million higher than Conti's. Earlier reports state that Conti claimed that SEPTA may have interfered with MSC's bid following the bid opening process.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


SEPTA may be in line for a one-shot infusion of flexible funding as one part of a solution out of the budget crisis. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is considering transferring $15 million in state highway funding originally earmarked for reconstruction of PA 309 in the Fort Washington area. Rehabilitation of the PA 309 segment between Haws Rd and Highland Av in Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh Twps and the interchange between PA 309 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike is being delayed due to enviromental issues. A portion of the earmark for that project - $15 million - would be transferred to SEPTA pending approval by the full DVRPC Board later this month.

The $15 million that would be "flexed" will be put towards day-to-day maintenance of the bus and rail fleet. The issue is a major concern at some depots, but none more so than Midvale, which reports several Neoplan artics out of service due to a parts shortage.

SEPTA is also stepping up efforts in Harrisburg to restore the $15 million in state funding cuts for this fiscal year. A third strategy, which would net $11 million in added savings, combined with restored state funding and the transfer of the PA 309 funds to SEPTA, would resore the $41 million shortfall for this fiscal year.

SEPTA's counterpart in Pittsburgh, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, recently recieved a $10 million in funding via the Southwestern Pennsylvania Planning Commission (the DVRPC counterpart in the Pittsburgh area) for the same reason. PAAC is facing a $19 million budget gap and was planning even more draconian cuts than what SEPTA was planning.


An accident along Lansdowne Av near Cobbs Creek (right before it becomes State Rd) caused major delays along West Chester Pike and Market St towards the end of the morning peak. As a result, most West Chester Pike buses - the 103, 104, 110, 111, 112, and 123 were delayed anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes as traffic was diverted off of State Rd via West Chester Pike and Market St into West Philadelphia. The 9:10am 112 Express to Delaware County Community College (5142/4490 block) left 20 minutes late due to its late arrival coming in from Lawrence Park. The 8:05am 104 West Chester Express (5588/4225 block) was 20 minutes late arriving into Newtown Square. Those were just a couple of the delays caused by the State Rd/Lansdowne Av shutdown.

This is the second time in the past week that service along West Chester Pike was impacted due to problems beyond SEPTA's control. Last Wednesday, a fire at the Elizabeth Court Apartments at 7100 West Chester Pike forced all West Chester Pike buses off the pike and over State Rd and Victory Av to reach 69 St Terminal in both directions.

Monday, October 06, 2003


In what is seemingly becoming a broken record, NJ Transit announced that the Southern New Jersey Light Rail Transit system, which was to have initiated service this fall will be delayed yet again. The Burlington County Times reports that NJ Transit continues to stall as it pertains to a start-up date, with a major reason being financial considerations. The BCT also reports that the start-up date was buried deep in a financial document issued by the state treasurer's office.

Well, if there was ever any ammunition to be gathered by those who want SEPTA to scale back the Schuylkill Valley project to a more reasonable and financially feasible project, just take a good long look at the progress - or lack thereof - of what has become a boondoggle and permanent monument to the GOP machine that runs Burlington County...