Wednesday, February 02, 2005


In what appears to have been a first, Emperor Street actually rode the Broad Street Subway...

According to the Inquirer, the Emperor joined labor leaders in taking a trip on the subway during Monday's peak hour:
Street, who vowed in a year-end news conference that he and members of his cabinet would ride the cash-strapped transit system weekly in 2005, hopped a Broad Street train from City Hall to Pattison Avenue shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Onboard, he grabbed a seat next to Angie Grant of South Philadelphia, who was in the midst of a 90-minute trip home from her job at a Newtown Square nursing home. Responding to the mayor's questions, Grant said her three-hour daily round-trip aboard the system's buses and trains was crucial to keeping her job.

"It's about work," Street said. "You hike the fares enough and she's going to say, 'Hey, why should I go out there?' "

Street said SEPTA's riders were primarily working people such as Grant, whom he described as "the most deserving people there are to get a subsidy." He called on state legislators to fully fund the transit agency, which has threatened a massive fare hike if Harrisburg cannot solve its financial troubles.

On their journey from City Hall to South Philadelphia's stadium complex, Street and a party that included Lance Haver, Philadelphia director of consumer affairs; Pat Eiding, Philadelphia AFL-CIO president; and Thomas Paine Cronin, leader of the city's white-collar union, witnessed symptoms of SEPTA woes, including graffiti and trash on trains and platforms.

But some aspects of the ride were unique to a mayoral visit, such as a brief delay after a camera crew following Street's party blocked train doors from closing. Later, a subway passenger on a platform loudly banged the car window behind Street's seat.

Perhaps the person banging on the window was not exactly a member of the Emperor's fan club...
Street noted that it was his second public-transit ride of the week. On Friday, he took a bus to work from his North Philadelphia home.

But after reaching the line's Pattison Avenue terminus last night, he rode away in an official vehicle.

Haver said he expected 4,500 Philadelphia advocates to appear at a Feb. 14 transit rally in Harrisburg. Inquirer

It'll be interesting to see if Haver's predictions hold true...

That said, it's really interesting that the Emperor has finally decided to make SEPTA a major issue after years of virtually ignoring transportation issues during his first term...

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