Sunday, March 21, 2004


And now, living proof that idiots come in all shapes and sizes when dealing with SEPTA. And it's not just Don Pasquale, Fearless Leader, and the Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market. Sometimes its the riders and operators who get under my skin too.

Today, on the 8:05am 104 from West Chester (5298/4215 block), we left New and Market on-time (8:12am). For some odd reason, this particular operator seemed to think that 40 mph on West Chester Pike was just a little too fast for his tastes, especially on that stretch between PA 352 and the SAP headquarters building in Newtown Square, where some drivers have been known to gun it. Somehow, we managed to lose about 4 minutes in running time because of this slow poke.

The day gets better, folks...

After taking a quick peek at Wyoming, where all I saw were a handful of NABIs and 5500-series New Flyers (and 3066, whose street-side appearance looked like crap), I had time to head up to Fox Chase, where I was hoping to find one of those 5700s that are starting to enter service working an 18 trip. No luck there, so I decide to go end to end on the 1:49pm R8 between Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill West (#2831). The trip from Fox Chase is going fairly smoothly until we get word that upon arriving at Market East, there are going to be people who were waiting for the R3 to Elwyn. For reasons unknown at this time (and considering I know a couple of people on Regional Rail who are based at Media Yard, I should be able to find out), the #8017 was originating at 5 track at Suburban instead of at Market East. My gut feeling is equipment problems, but nothing is confirmed yet.

So, after a brief look outside of the Germantown shops, where I can confirm that a second Champion cutaway and at least two 5700s are on the property, I worked my way back to Germantown at Chelten to catch the 65 back to 69 St. And that trip (4:20pm departed 5 minutes late, 5463/9603 block) was going fine until we got onto City Av. The operator had asked a passenger to mute her phone, because it was a distraction. The passenger refused to do so, and kept on playing whatever game it was she was playing on her cell phone. The driver then pulled over at City and Belmont to wait for a white-shirt to arrive. As irritating as that little "protest" was, I don't blame the operator for pulling over, since he felt it was a safety hazard; so much so that he missed at least 2-3 stops because of that distraction.

About 15 minutes later, the next 65 (7147/5203 block) arrived and everyone, including the idiot who caused the delay in the first place, boarded. Thankfully, she got off at 54 St, because there probably would've been a lot of pissed off people when we got to the end of the line (including yours truly - and yes, I let her have it as she left the bus at 54 St). As a result of this idiot's act of "civil disobedience", I missed the 5:05pm 104 (4218 block) back to West Chester and had to wait for the 6:05pm 104 (4219 block).

Yes, the same 4219 block which is operated by one of my least favorite operators out of Red Arrow, who I think could be described as "dumb."

For starters, he arrived into 69 St about 5 minutes late (which for him, would be early). If that wasn't bad enough, he pulled into the inner platform at West Terminal instead of the outer platform, which is where buses are supposed to board until 7:00pm. We then pull out 3 minutes late and somehow manage to lose two minutes en route. (Fortunately, we didn't take the scenic route through Edgmont Square - which isn't supposed to start until after 7:00pm - which he had been known to do when not scheduled to do so, thus costing us more time.)

And, to top it all off, I just found out that my March Madness office pool is shot to hell thanks (or, rather, no thanks) to the University of Alabama-Birmingham having the audacity to knock off Kentucky and Alabama knocking off Stamford (fortunately, UConn - my pick to win it all - is still in the mix; and yes, I did pick Xavier over BOTH Louisville and Mississippi State, Manhattan over Florida, and Nevada over Michigan State).

But other than that, it was a pretty good day. I did get to ride buses from all depots except Southern and Frontier (including 3224 on the 10 bus bridge - 8053 block - with an Elmwood operator). And I was able to (from a distance) sneak a glimpse of one the new Champions (which I think was 2071).

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