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Old 11-30-2018, 10:43 AM
 
8,343 posts, read 4,511,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyers Girl View Post
Correct, I'm not talking about 101/102 or the NHSL. The Red Arrow line, the trolley/street car that ran along Route 3 from 69th Street to West Chester (which was replaced with the 104 bus), etc. I'd be willing to bet that the tracks are still there under the grass and concrete medians, but I'd have to do some research on whether or not they were actually pulled up or just paved over.
Okay. ... My mom road that West Chester Pike trolley back in the 1930s to Cheney College. Dunno when it was discontinued but it was absolutely gone by the mid-60s.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,818 posts, read 1,843,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
This is one thing I find incredibly annoying about Regional Rail, and the constant stopping slows the ride down considerably. It doesn't really make sense to have stops 1/2-3/4 of a mile apart on a commuter rail line if you want to move people in and out quickly.

The same goes for the trolley lines and stopping at every damn block down Baltimore and Lancaster avenues.

Don't get me wrong, I love and rely on SEPTA in my everyday life. I use it and walk 95% of my travel around the city, but I am not blind to the myriad of issues it suffers from either, and I'm simply pointing them out.
If you follow the dominant thought among transit geeks and transportation policy wonks, those closely spaced stations open up the opportunity to run Regional Rail more like rapid transit, not less.

IOW, trains that run frequently (15-minute intervals would be fine for most lines) throughout the day and pure off-board fare collection so that all you'd have to do is show up at the station, pay your fare and wait for the train to arrive - no need to consult a schedule.

This, the thinking goes, should cause ridership to jump, and the city's experience with "Operation Northwest" in the 1950s backs this thinking up. (This was a program of service improvements to the two Chestnut Hill lines that featured far more frequent trains.)

I belong to this camp too. Install high platforms at every station to realize the full potential of this style of operation, which would distinguish SEPTA Regional Rail from every other commuter rail network in the nation.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:14 PM
 
Location: The mountain of Airy
5,164 posts, read 5,039,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
If you follow the dominant thought among transit geeks and transportation policy wonks, those closely spaced stations open up the opportunity to run Regional Rail more like rapid transit, not less.

IOW, trains that run frequently (15-minute intervals would be fine for most lines) throughout the day and pure off-board fare collection so that all you'd have to do is show up at the station, pay your fare and wait for the train to arrive - no need to consult a schedule.

This, the thinking goes, should cause ridership to jump, and the city's experience with "Operation Northwest" in the 1950s backs this thinking up. (This was a program of service improvements to the two Chestnut Hill lines that featured far more frequent trains.)

I belong to this camp too. Install high platforms at every station to realize the full potential of this style of operation, which would distinguish SEPTA Regional Rail from every other commuter rail network in the nation.
This couldn't be more right, but will SEPTA ever get out of its own head? It just can't seem to think any differently than it currently operates. I think that's the thing that frustrates me the most with SEPTA. There are so many assets and options with how they could operate, but they continually decide to keep it the same...
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:35 PM
 
3,133 posts, read 1,045,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
New York is THE statistical outlier among US cities on just about every front.

To put this in perspective: MTA New York City Transit (just that operating unit, not the LIRR, MNCR, MTA Long Island Bus, the Westchester County bus system, or the North Jersey operations of New Jersey Transit Corporation) carries two of every three mass transit riders in the entire country.

Maybe "best in the country" is inaccurate, but once you filter out New York City, SEPTA Regional Rail is probably the most comprehensive and frequent regional rail system of the remaining ones. It's also noteworthy for its unusually dense station spacing. EMU railcars are ideally suited to handle such service, though I do support purchasing dual-mode locomotives in order to restore service to non-electrified territory (Phoenixville, Quakertown...) expeditiously.



Growing up as you did in New York City, I don't see where you get off complaining about the aesthetics of SEPTA subway stations.

Every station (subway and elevated) on the Market-Frankford Line has either been rebuilt or gotten a facelift since the 1980s, and 15th Street is in the middle of a makeover right now. The 1970s supergraphics at 5th Street/Independence Hall may look a little dated, but I wouldn't call them ugly.

And the tilework in the Broad Street Subway stations is a simple-yet-elegant design that postdates every New York City subway route except those constructed as part of the Independent Subway System, work on which began around the same time work resumed on the Broad Street Subway (1925).

The tilework on NYCT platform extensions at IRT stations is similar in appearance but slightly older than what you see at Chinatown station on the Ridge Spur. And that one follows the Philadelphia tradition of having the station name embedded in the tile rather than spelled out with mosaic tiles.

Even the 1950s subway stations here (i.e., the ones on the Market-Frankford Line and trolley subway from 22d Street west) are fairly attractive - they're sure an improvement on the bare concrete walls they had prior to their makeover at the end of the David Gunn years in the early 1980s.



Frankly, the grime is on the floors, not the walls. Otherwise, what you said (see above).



That's what the El's for. It's quicker than riding a bus.

And what are the 21 and 42, chopped liver? Or the 31, which runs less frequently and runs under the MFL from 46th to 63d?

In general, though, I do agree that SEPTA isn't as bad as the riders say it is. But the implementation and design of SEPTA Key was a monumental clusterf**k, and the decision to withhold card kiosks from every suburban transit depot and train station other than 69th Street Terminal is simply astonishing, and incredibly customer-hostile.
21 is always crowded during evening rush hour
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,818 posts, read 1,843,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymkt View Post
21 is always crowded during evening rush hour
Everything but the Broad Street Line (which has operated well under its capacity from Opening Day 1927 up to the present) is crowded at rush hour. Your point being...?

Your original complaint was that you "[couldn't] catch a bus from University City to Center City or the Northeast." I (and one other person) pointed out why that was not really a good idea (or use of resources on SEPTA's part) when the El is right there. Then I just added the 21 and 42, both of which connect U-City and Center City, to refute the Center City part of your complaint. Now you're moving the goalposts.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:49 PM
 
8,343 posts, read 4,511,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Everything but the Broad Street Line (which has operated well under its capacity from Opening Day 1927 up to the present) is crowded at rush hour. Your point being...?

Your original complaint was that you "[couldn't] catch a bus from University City to Center City or the Northeast." I (and one other person) pointed out why that was not really a good idea (or use of resources on SEPTA's part) when the El is right there. Then I just added the 21 and 42, both of which connect U-City and Center City, to refute the Center City part of your complaint. Now you're moving the goalposts.
Sandy, the BSL IS crowded during rush hours and when kids get out of schools where it's frequently sro during those times. However I imagine you mean people are not totally sandwiched in as equalling "under capacity". I ride it every day. Sometimes multiple times.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:53 PM
 
8,343 posts, read 4,511,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
This couldn't be more right, but will SEPTA ever get out of its own head? It just can't seem to think any differently than it currently operates. I think that's the thing that frustrates me the most with SEPTA. There are so many assets and options with how they could operate, but they continually decide to keep it the same...
The unions probably have something to do with it. Plus there is no profit motive.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:42 PM
 
Location: The Best Philly, West Philly
910 posts, read 638,076 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
You seem to ignore the fact that the vast majority of people don't want to or don't need to use Regional Rail to get from suburb to suburb. Most people want to use it to get from suburb to Center City and Center City to suburb. You also ignore the fact that RR frequency isn't all that great, and is downright terrible outside of rush hour. The New Haven Line, Northeast Corridor Line, and some of the busier LIRR lines all run at intervals as small as 6-8 minutes during rush hour, and 30 minutes at most during off-peak times. Nowhere on Regional Rail has that kind of frequency. Also, you'll see those trains run double-deckers 10 cars long, which is a huge capacity. Regional Rail lines run at most, 6-7 single decker cars. That is a huge difference in how many people they can move on a single train headed into or out of the city.

I'm not saying that NJT/LIRR/MetroNorth don't have issues, because they do. I'm also not saying that Regional Rail isn't good, because it is. But anyone who isn't a blatant homer like you knows that NYC commuter rail is far above and beyond what Philadelphia offers. It's a simple fact not up for debate.
Here's where I disagree with you: I wasn't saying that the Regional Rail system was above NYC from an operational standpoint. I don't think that anyone can make a reasonable argument against what you've said (although NJT could be a lot better). The LIRR, Metro-North, and NJT simply have the equipment, personnel, and manpower to accommodate those headways that you mentioned.

What I was attempting to convey is that the Regional Rail has the best set up of any commuter rail system. No other commuter rail system is through-routed and fully electrified like ours. SEPTA could easily convert it into a rapid transit system due to the present electrification, EMUs, dense station spacing, and the fact that trains don't have to turn around to head in another direction. Also, plenty of people travel between two points in the region. The Airport Line is the best example of this, as it has experienced an explosion of ridership from those starting their trips on the ex-Reading side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
As a daily rider of the Broad Street Line, one thing I really appreciate about SEPTA is the fact that the train shows up when it says it's gonna show up 95% of the time. My morning train to work shows up right on time or within a minute every day. My boyfriend, who lives in New York and takes the 7 train into the city, constantly has to leave way earlier then he should have to in order to factor in cushion time because the train is so frequently late. SEPTA keeps the trains running on-time pretty well. Now they just need to install the count down clocks at every station so you can see when the next train is coming.

Now the buses are an entirely different story. Their timetables are totally useless. Luckily the SEPTA app has GPS location so you can check where the buses actually are along the route.
Here's where I absolutely agree with you: I took the BSL daily as a Temple student, and now I take the El to work daily since I found a new position in Center City. I never have to worry about on-time performance. There have been very few times where the El or BSL have let me down (same with the 34 trolley to a lesser extent). The peak AM frequencies on the El are amazing: even if I see a train approaching my stop, I can still head up to the station knowing that another one will be there in three minutes or less (usually).

I also agree that we need countdown clocks, especially for the trolleys. After visiting Paris, Boston, and a few other places, I don't see a valid excuse as to why we don't have them yet.
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:13 PM
 
585 posts, read 356,181 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyers Girl View Post
Good article. It saddens me that surface-level trolleys will never come back in the suburbs. Yes, that's a bold statement, but I think it's absolutely true. I wrote about it in another thread recently (http://www.city-data.com/forum/53306205-post9.html).


As to the OP, I don't hate SEPTA. But I would use it a heck of a lot more if there was more suburban coverage that 100% negated the use of a car (eg., having to drive to a RR station and park to take the train to Philly).

Quoting myself to correct an error. The tracks are likely long gone from West Chester Pike, because that road used to be much narrower (like a back road is nowadays) back when the trolley ran.


Also wanted to add the following. From the Trolley Dodger website:


Quote:
Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a “closet railfan,” he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn’t simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

So SEPTA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to get rid of the Ardmore and West Chester lines, but keep Sharon Hill, Media, and Norristown.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,818 posts, read 1,843,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Sandy, the BSL IS crowded during rush hours and when kids get out of schools where it's frequently sro during those times. However I imagine you mean people are not totally sandwiched in as equalling "under capacity". I ride it every day. Sometimes multiple times.
Maybe not multiple times, but since I use it to get from my Germantown home to my Washington Square office, I do ride it every day, twice a day at least, and on most days homeward at peak hour.

At peak hour, the expresses run with many standees, but I've never seen cars as cram-packed with people as I have on the Market-Frankford Line between 3:30 and 6 p.m. And the locals empty out when they meet expresses at transfer stations homeward bound, like the local I ended up taking all the way to Olney tonight because I missed the presence of a Ridge Spur train at Girard.

That's WAY under capacity. A similar line in New York would have at least cars with all the seats taken on the local at those hours, and more likely cars with plenty of standees (and they'd have them even if they had transverse seating as they do on the BSS).

By "crowded" I mean the aisles have so many people standing in them that it's hard to make your way to the door if you're not close to it. Or that people have to get off in order to let you out. That's pretty common on the 18 bus at peak hour, on which SEPTA runs 60-foot articulateds except late at night.

But: Ppint taken about dismissal time at Central and Girls High. Olney station is swamped then.
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