Wednesday, January 21, 2004


As many people who follow SEPTA very closely know, the 121 bus between Gladwynne and Center City is one of the worst performing routes in the entire system. Yet, thanks to constant whining from people (or, more accurately, elected officials) in the People's Republic of Lower Merion, the line continues to connect Gladwynne and Center City via I-76 and US 1. Or will it...

Somebody at SEPTA must have some sort of crystal ball, because if one looks carefully enough, you may find that the 121 as we know it could disappear. This link - uncovered by one of my regular contributors - shows was could be a restructured service between Gladwynne and Center City. Oddly enough, it's listed as Route 303, which was the former designator for a shuttle bus from PNC/Eastwick to Suburban Station via I-76 from 1998-99 and a proposed designator for a service that was to have run between Doylestown and Neshaminy Mall via PA 611 and PA 132.

The proposed "303" would reportedly operate the same routing from Gladwynne to the Cynwyd Rail Station as the present 121, then operate via Montgomery Av, Conshohocken Av, Belmont Av, Wynnefield Av, Parkside Av, 40 St, Market St, 38 St, Chestnut St, 13 St, Filbert St, and 12 St, where it would presumably layover. Return service would operate via Market, Juniper St, JFK Blvd, 20 St, Market St, 38 St, Lancaster Av, 40 St, Parkside, Wynnefield, Belmont, Conshohocken, and Montgomery en route to Belmont Hills and Gladwynne.

There's also this interesting proposed schedule listed under "Route 85", which appears to be either a proposed schedule change for the present Route 35, or a very bizarre practical joke. A quick glance of the two lines indicate that weekday peak service the "85" between 5:10am and 9:30am and between 3:30pm and 7:30pm would operate every 20 minutes between Andorra and Wissahickon Loop, with timepoints at Ridge Av/Fountain St and Ridge Av/Summit Av. The present 35 schedule has 30 minute headways all day between 5:30am and 8:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays. The "85" apparently would also operate every 30 minutes during off-peak times on weekdays with the last departure from Wissahickon Loop at 11:30pm. "85" Saturday service would depart every half hour from Wissahickon Loop between 5:28am and 12:28am. Sunday "85" service would operate hourly from 5:38am to 11:38pm; present 35 Sunday service operates from Wissahickon from 7:00am to 7:00pm.

But wait, there's more! There are several inactive routes and services that are also posted on the SEPTA web site if you look carefully enough. Fortunately, I've done it for you:

"Route 50" - "Holiday Trolley" Loop in University City between 49 St/Woodland Av and 40 St El station operated in 2001
"Route 51" - "Welcome Line" Center City Trolley loop from years ago that also was the Holiday Trolley when it operated in Center City from the late 1990s until 2000
Route 63 - Grays Ferry to Pier 70 via Christian and Catharine Sts - eliminated last September
Route 76 - Center City to Philadelphia Zoo (pre-SPREE)
Route 202 - West Chester to Brandywine Town Center
Route 208 - Strafford Rail Station to Chesterbrook
Route 301 - Bethayres to Newtown (Bucks)
Route 302 - Fox Chase to Southampton

Does anyone at SEPTA know how to maintain a web site properly with out these "web gems" sneaking out into the public domain?

Looks like another arguement in favor of PDF files for timetables so SEPTA doesn't accidentally leak certain plans underneath the public radar.


There have been reports in the guestbook and elsewhere on the web that the new Champion cutaway buses - which are supposed to replace the aging 5-year-old Ford cutaway buses - are on SEPTA property. The sources for this information is usually very reliable.

Yet, over the past week, during recent looks outside the Wyoming Av shops and Germantown Brake Shop, not a single one of these new buses were to be found. (Note that I haven't had the time - nor the energy nor patience - to try and head up to Frontier to see if any of these buses were stored there.) Either SEPTA is doing a good job of hiding these buses, I'm not looking hard enough, or the buses were on SEPTA property and have since been returned.

Hopefully, we'll get to the bottom of this mystery. In the meantime, riders on the 92 (such as myself) will be stuck on those so-called "buses" that should never have been bought in the first place...

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