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Old 11-27-2018, 04:22 PM
 
Location: The Best Philly, West Philly
909 posts, read 636,586 times
Reputation: 2254

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Over the years, I have done a lot of traveling, both domestically and abroad (to a much lesser extent). When I travel to different cities, I prefer to use their public transportation systems instead of driving or ridesharing. At this point, I have used every major transit system in the Northeast, along with those of Seattle and Paris. Each time I come back home, I come back just a little more thankful for SEPTA each time. I honestly don't get why SEPTA receives as much hate as it does. Here are some of the reasons why SEPTA is superior to many other transit systems:

-The level of 24/7 service, along with 24 hour weekend service on the El and BSL. I recently traveled to Boston for the first time since I was 20 (I'm 23 now). My plan was to stay out late and enjoy the bar/club scene of Boston; instead, I was HORRIFIED to discover that the T almost completely shuts down at 1AM on Fridays! When I went out the next day, I discovered that it almost completely shuts down at midnight. That's outrageous and unacceptable.

-Our Regional Rail system is the best commuter rail system in the nation, and I think that a lot of people take aspects of our Regional Rail system for granted. Being able to take a one-seat ride between two points in the region is super-convenient. I've taken the Media/Elwyn Line from Elwyn to Yardley, Norristown, and Ambler several times. Additionally, I've taken the Wilmington/Newark Line from Chester to Norristown. Also, TransPasses and TrailPasses have anywhere privileges on the weekends. I live in Cedar Park, so I love the fact that I can walk to 49th Street and take the train to Center City or other points in the region. I also use this perk to travel to New York City, as I can take the Trenton Line for free. Finally, although our Regional Rail system could (and should) easily be converted into a rapid transit system, we already have pretty good frequencies. While the maximum headway on a weekend day is 90 minutes, it increases to two hours on New Jersey Transit in densely-populated North Jersey.

-Our trolleys offer extra capacity along densely-populated corridors. While other cities have been using light-rail projects as a stimulus for private real estate investment, our trolleys serve a legitimate function.

-Our rapid transit lines (the El and BSL) have really good frequencies. Compare ours to the DC Metro, where waiting for the next Red Line train may take up to 30 minutes, depending on the time of night.

-Our suburban transit system is very comprehensive. I can easily get around to many different suburbs using buses and trolleys. The 109, which runs from 69th Street to Chester via Baltimore Pike, for example, runs every 20 minutes. Although I live in the city, I can rely on other forms of transit to get me to where I need to go in the event that I'm ever in the suburbs.


I'll add points as I think of them, but I'm ultimately trying to convey that SEPTA isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. SEPTA is far from perfect, but we probably have the second best transit system on the East Coast, only surpassed by the MTA in NYC (which has its own issues). SEPTA is one of the primary reasons why I ultimately decided to stay in Philly after college: I can (and do) feasibly live here without a car.
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Center City, Philadelphia
4,569 posts, read 2,558,590 times
Reputation: 2868
Why do people hate SEPTA? IMO, I think most people's gripes come down to aesthetics. Suburban and Jefferson stations are the main stations for suburbanites to get off at in Center City and it feels like you are dumped out in a homeless shelter.

As a center city resident, my personal gripe lies with the inability to ever keep any of the stations clean. We have 7 people standing around talking to one another waiting for someone to approach them about the SEPTA Key. While at the same time, people are fumbling their way through one of the most counterintuitive design menus ever created and the station is just begging to be swept. These SEPTA Key ambassadors have been around for years now. Think about how much money could have been spent elsewhere.

Little things go a long way. I think perceptions would change if city hall, 15th street, walnut-locust, and other close in stations were looking good and clean all the time. These are the most trafficked stations. Why shouldn't they receive the most care and attention all the time?

Another thing is signage. Particularly around 30th street can be confusing if you do not know where you are going. Nothing really indicates that you need to leave the station and cross the street to get to the MFL. Some of the SEPTA lines in 30th Street can be diffcult to find.

These are all things that are easily achievable in my opinion, but from most optics it appears that SEPTA doesn't care or is unwilling to even bother to attempt to fix these blemishes.

As you point out correctly, SEPTA has relatively good coverage connecting the region together by train. It's why tens of millions of people use it each year. It provides enough coverage that you can get by without owning a car.

An underrated aspect of SEPTA imo is the bus system. I have found after living here for a number of years, it is often most practical, efficient, and overall the best ride especially on the new buses.

Last edited by thedirtypirate; 11-27-2018 at 07:52 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 12:12 AM
 
Location: North Jackson
1,883 posts, read 3,002,030 times
Reputation: 2423
Too much city uncovered by subway lines. SW, NW, NE, are completely untouched by subway. W, N, and S, only have the bare minimum of subway lines. Forget it if you want to travel from overbook to manayunk, or West Philly to mt airy. Or from some other part of the city to South Philly that's not walking distance of Broad St.

You shouldn't need three modes, two transfers, to get somewhere in the city. Pretty sure you don't need to do that in Paris! Having to go bus-subway-bus, or God forbid bus-subway-El-bus, is just ridiculous.
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Old Yesterday, 02:13 AM
 
Location: Philly, PA
334 posts, read 230,739 times
Reputation: 128
I think alot of people freak out because something is always happening. Sometimes i feel like they might expect too much. Example: MTA NYC is facing a $1,000,000,000 Deficit and is considering raising fares....SEPTA has said the same thing before in the past and people like im sure in NYC has said "They always cry they need money, but never on time, workers are rude". I don't think people really understand alot of the behind the scenes stuff. I know SEPTA not perfect trust me, they could be better in customer relations when it comes to delays and some other things. But i always tell people try going somewhere else where there is barely a network like SEPTA and see how much you fair and try to make it. SEPTA is at our finger tips whenever we want it alot of places wish they had the infrastructure and coverage as SEPTA does. My $.02 cents.
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Old Yesterday, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
937 posts, read 534,205 times
Reputation: 1378
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan2013 View Post
-Our Regional Rail system is the best commuter rail system in the nation, and I think that a lot of people take aspects of our Regional Rail system for granted. Being able to take a one-seat ride between two points in the region is super-convenient. I've taken the Media/Elwyn Line from Elwyn to Yardley, Norristown, and Ambler several times. Additionally, I've taken the Wilmington/Newark Line from Chester to Norristown. Also, TransPasses and TrailPasses have anywhere privileges on the weekends. I live in Cedar Park, so I love the fact that I can walk to 49th Street and take the train to Center City or other points in the region. I also use this perk to travel to New York City, as I can take the Trenton Line for free. Finally, although our Regional Rail system could (and should) easily be converted into a rapid transit system, we already have pretty good frequencies. While the maximum headway on a weekend day is 90 minutes, it increases to two hours on New Jersey Transit in densely-populated North Jersey.
No it isn't. Ever heard of MetroNorth, NJT, and LIRR? In level, frequency, and capacity of service, it is the undisputed king of commuter rail in the United States. Regional Rail is pittance in comparison, which doesn't mean it's bad, just not on the same level.

The rest of your post was pretty good though.
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Old Yesterday, 07:10 AM
 
191 posts, read 66,915 times
Reputation: 319
Regional Rail system coverage is excellent. The frequency is terrible. Unless you are doing the commute into CC weekdays, it's not a very convenient system.

I think the bus network is good.

Can't do much about the lack of subway lines but I do consider Frankford as part of the NE so heavy rail does get you there, albeit in the very, very bottom of it. With the 66 feeding FTC at peak intervals of less 5 minutes, it functions as a defacto extension of the EL to a degree.
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Old Yesterday, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
270 posts, read 120,595 times
Reputation: 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
No it isn't. Ever heard of MetroNorth, NJT, and LIRR? In level, frequency, and capacity of service, it is the undisputed king of commuter rail in the United States. Regional Rail is pittance in comparison, which doesn't mean it's bad, just not on the same level.

The rest of your post was pretty good though.
I agree here. I also agree with the above post that aesthetics is pretty bad. I walk to Girard station and there is so much trash, grime, and dirt caked into the decades-outdated tile. The same an be said for pretty much any station in Center City. The stations look like a prison, are outdated and are not kept clean. Look at NYC and take my childhood subway lines for my biased example, the B/Q - many stations along that line are being updated and modernized.

It would go a long way if SEPTA devotes resources to keep stations clean. I think a layout upgrade and reconstruction of all the stations is also needed. The stations look untouched from the 80's. Compare that to subways in Asia. Even my native country Thailand has better and cleaner subways than Philly.

I know I am biased growing up in NYC but I still think it is ridiculous that there are just TWO subway lines for the whole city. I exclude regional rail here because the fares are higher and frequency is less; you don't count LIRR/NJT/Metro North when talking about NYC subways. It is also ridiculous that density is so low around many train stations.
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Old Yesterday, 07:59 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 4,498,619 times
Reputation: 2772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy215267 View Post
I think alot of people freak out because something is always happening. Sometimes i feel like they might expect too much. Example: MTA NYC is facing a $1,000,000,000 Deficit and is considering raising fares....SEPTA has said the same thing before in the past and people like im sure in NYC has said "They always cry they need money, but never on time, workers are rude". I don't think people really understand alot of the behind the scenes stuff. I know SEPTA not perfect trust me, they could be better in customer relations when it comes to delays and some other things. But i always tell people try going somewhere else where there is barely a network like SEPTA and see how much you fair and try to make it. SEPTA is at our finger tips whenever we want it alot of places wish they had the infrastructure and coverage as SEPTA does. My $.02 cents.
This sums it up pretty well, imo. As does what the OP said: Locals need to travel to other cities and do transit comparisons with septa. Chances are they might come to the conclusion that septa is not bad at all.

Of course I know about the days before septa when the PTC, Red Arrow, P&W, Pennsy and Reading RR existed. Even then switching between lines wasn't terrible.
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Old Yesterday, 08:11 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 4,498,619 times
Reputation: 2772
Quote:
Originally Posted by MB1562 View Post
No it isn't. Ever heard of MetroNorth, NJT, and LIRR? In level, frequency, and capacity of service, it is the undisputed king of commuter rail in the United States. Regional Rail is pittance in comparison, which doesn't mean it's bad, just not on the same level.

The rest of your post was pretty good though.
When did septa's regional rail experience any horrific accidents like MetroNorth did a couple of years ago where people died? I may be wrong but I do not recall that ever happenning on Septa's trains. And, yes, I have ridden on NJT and MetroNorth a bunch of times. And, tbh, I am nervous every time I ride on any MetroNorth train now.

All of those lines are in the NY metro, the biggest one in the country, so they had better be more than good. However have you ridden NJT at "rush hour" from Penn Station? It's like a scene from hell.
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Old Yesterday, 08:24 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 4,498,619 times
Reputation: 2772
Quote:
Originally Posted by BK_PHL_DEL View Post
I agree here. I also agree with the above post that aesthetics is pretty bad. I walk to Girard station and there is so much trash, grime, and dirt caked into the decades-outdated tile. The same an be said for pretty much any station in Center City. The stations look like a prison, are outdated and are not kept clean. Look at NYC and take my childhood subway lines for my biased example, the B/Q - many stations along that line are being updated and modernized.

It would go a long way if SEPTA devotes resources to keep stations clean. I think a layout upgrade and reconstruction of all the stations is also needed. The stations look untouched from the 80's. Compare that to subways in Asia. Even my native country Thailand has better and cleaner subways than Philly.

I know I am biased growing up in NYC but I still think it is ridiculous that there are just TWO subway lines for the whole city. I exclude regional rail here because the fares are higher and frequency is less; you don't count LIRR/NJT/Metro North when talking about NYC subways. It is also ridiculous that density is so low around many train stations.
Sounds like you are unaware the entire western elevated portion of the MFL was completely rebuilt not that long ago. The entire structure, which dated from its opening in 1907, was ripped down and totally replaced. Now, I agree it could be much cleaner! As could everything else.

I understand complaints about not having a more extensive subway system in Phila.. But I also know how long it took to build even part of the 2nd Ave subway. So I try not to be too upset about the lack subway coverage.
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