Tuesday, December 23, 2003


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

Monday, December 22, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We as union members can not let this happen.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

And now, in transit related news...


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

According to the Cherry Hill Courier Post:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, December 21, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 08, 2003


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

Sunday, December 07, 2003


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

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

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

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

Um, no.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 05, 2003


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

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


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

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

Well, it's progress, anyway.

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

That is, weather permitting, of course...

Thursday, December 04, 2003


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


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

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

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

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

But this relationship is far from hot and steamy.

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

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


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

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

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


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

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 01, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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