Sunday, June 15, 2008

Septa's Septic Service

Over the past week or so, I have noticed a real deterioration of service on the part of SEPTA. It started last Sunday when I was trying to get home from Center City. The 5 bush which I usually take had been detoured because of the Philadelphia Gay Parade. I went to the designated pick up point, only to wait there for an hour in the sweltering heat along with an elderly man.

When the bus finally picked us up, the driver told us she had been unable to reach the pick up spot. Listening to her speak with her dispatcher over the radio, I came to the conclusion that lines of communication between the drivers and SEPTA were not especially good, as the driver was not certain where detours were.

One might argue that this was simply the result of a special event on a weekend, not reflective of SEPTA’s overall service. However, this past Thursday, I went out to get the 5 bus up to Frankford Terminal, only to find that it was a half hour late. This was in the middle of rush hour on Frankford Ave.

When I finally arrived at Frankford Terminal, I found that the 26 bus was running ten minutes late. This was actually lucky from my perspective, as I was actually able to catch it, but the ten or so other people waiting for it seemed to mind.

Finally, we must discuss the fortunately short-lived SEPTA police strike. Here, both sides seem to be at fault. On one hand, SEPTA refused to accept binding arbitration, perhaps fearing the union would be able to get a fairer, and more expensive, shake. At the same time, union officials seemed all too eager to prey on the public’s fears in the wake of recent violence on SEPTA, warning people to seek “alternative transportation.” Do we have to trust our safety to such uncaring people?

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