Saturday, January 29, 2005

Making SEPTA cool

The cover story of the City Paper this week is 33 ideas to make SEPTA better, and even 'cool.' It is worth a look. They list some common sense (and cheap) things SEPTA could do, as well as some more expensive ones, and some that will not happen in this lifetime.

Some of the basic, or "duh" ideas... "Duh" not because the suggestions are stupid, but because they are so common sense that you wonder why SEPTA has not done them already.

My comments in parentheses:

Idea #4: Take plastic. (Everyone excepts credit cards today. Join the modern age)
Idea #9: Make the Web site useful. (This would take what, hiring a kid for one day?)
Idea #17: Adjust services to fit the ridership. (In other words, do I really have to jostle in the aisle when I go to work, when there are empty buses on other routes, or can we adjust how many busses go where?)
Idea #20: Make tellers give us change. (Duh.)
Idea #21: Place token machines at every subway stop. (Duh)
Idea #22: Make sure the token and ticket machines work. (Duh.)
Idea #26: Give us a sign. (Yeah, how hard is it to post schedules so we actually know when a bus is coming?)
Idea #27: Tell us when the next train is coming. (Actually telling people when the next subway is coming? Preposterous! You see, this is why I call them the "duh" suggestions.)

Actually, I have a really great story about #21 and 22 that involves my lawyer father, turnstile jumping, and a last second escape from SEPTA cops. But that, and the rest of my family's arrest history with SEPTA is a story for another day!

Ideas that are feasible, and smart:
Idea #1: Skip a corner or three. (There really is no reason for so many stops, at all. The bus I take to work stops at every single damn corner on Market St. Every one.)
Idea #2: Set artists loose on the subway stations. (Anything to spruce them up.)
Idea #7: Offer premium services on suburban rails. (Considering some of the far-flung riders are on the train for an hour, does not seem like a bad idea at all. Whether people would pay for it, I have no idea.)
Idea #31: Give bikers a place to lock up. (Have lockers where bikers can safely park their bikes, just as you have lots for people parking cars. And this does not mean a bike rack. This means a locker, where your seat will not get stolen, and your bike will not be subject to inclement weather.)

Ideas that are great, but will never happen:
Idea # 12: Create a "Museum District Loop." (By this they mean build a subway spur down the parkway, a la the Champ-Elysees. It would be wonderful. It would also cost billions. Ain't happening. However, a bus that runs down the Parkway, with stops at all the museums, and then Boathouse row would make a lot of sense, and, make this rower happy.)
Idea #14: Extend the subway to the rest of the city. (See above.)
Idea #32. Lower the fares. (Should happen, but, certainly will not. The idea that they charge for a transfer though, is quite awful. If the idea is to get you some place, and to do that you have to take more than one bus, why are you penalized?)
Idea #33: Stop charging riders. (Yeah, that is a more fundamental question for society. I don't think the SEPTA board can really tackle that.)

They also suggest that SEPTA should run the regional rails later, which I agree with. At the very least, one thing I think they could instantly do is run targeted night-bus routes. For example, when I was in Dublin, and living outside of the City Centre, I would never, ever take a taxi home after a night out. I would take a night bus. I think SEPTA could turn this into a real money maker, in fact. For example, why not a bus route that runs until 3 or so that goes from N Liberties, to Old City, and then down Market St to Penn or Temple? I bet you would find quite a few riders. Or, send a bus from downtown up the Roosevelt Boulevard, so people living reasonably close could use that. It would not only make money, but it could change the image of SEPTA, and create future riders.

Anyone else have any other suggestions, be they of the duh variety, or anything else?


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg said...

But that, and the rest of my family's arrest history with SEPTA is a story for another day!Uh, yeah, save those stories for your grandchildren.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

Or your children.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg said...

Are you trying to scare me out of ever having kids? Don't let your mother catch wind of that...

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Charles said...

I forgot about that. Shoe-laces please Minister.

At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Septa has a day pass, as well as other varieties of transpass. Will Septa ever offer a transit pass that deducts fares with each ride, while allowing riders to continue to add money when needed (like in NYC, Chicago, and I'm sure elsewhere)? Perhaps it's an equipment (and therefore a cost) issue?


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