Should Philly Ban Smoking at Bus Shelters?

An academic study found that waiting for the bus is so awful that it can actually compel your mind to lie to you. Every minute that you wait for the bus feels the same as 4.4 minutes actually riding the bus.

That got us thinking: Should Philadelphia ban smoking at bus shelters? After all, being hot-boxed by cigarette fumes must make the wait feel even longer (unless you’re the person lighting up), right? If Philadelphia can make the wait more pleasant by banning smoking at bus shelters, maybe SEPTA will attract more riders.

The bigger potential benefit, of course, is that the measure could discourage smoking just a little bit more. Philadelphia’s smoking rate fell to an all-time low in 2014-15, in part, health officials believe, because of the city’s ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, workplaces, parks and several other locations.

“Looking at the robust literature on the issue, smoking bans not only protect people from secondhand smoke, but also give smokers an additional reason to quit,” said Giridhar Mallya, director of policy and planning for Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health. Read more »

SEPTA Announces Papal Visit Pass Sales and Station Details

UPDATE [7/20/2015]: The passes are on sale now. Here’s everything you need to know to get one.

ORIGINAL: The special one-day Papal Visit Pass required to ride SEPTA’s streamlined Regional Rail service during Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia on September 26th and 27th will go on sale at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 20th, according to a news release SEPTA issued this afternoon.

Everyone who plans on riding Regional Rail into Center City to see the pope — estimated at 180,000 customers each day — must buy one of these passes in order to board a Regional Rail train at one of the 18 Regional Rail stations that will be open. Read more »

SEPTA Could Add Levittown Station to Papal Transit Plan

Pope Francis|  giulio napolitano / Map | SEPTA

Pope Francis| giulio napolitano / Map | SEPTA

People hoping to attend the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit in September could have another location to board SEPTA regional rail trains into Philadelphia.

According to a report yesterday in the Bucks County Courier Times, the Levittown-Tullytown Station on SEPTA’s Trenton regional rail line was added to the list of boarding locations in Bucks and Montgomery Counties that are expected to serve around 70,000 visitors to the WMOF Congress and the Papal visit on September 27th.

Jerri Williams, director of media relations for SEPTA, would not confirm that the station had been added, but did say that SEPTA is looking at making minor tweaks to the current transit plan for the WMOF and Pope Francis‘ visit. Read more »

What If You Could Get from Philly to D.C. on Public Transit?

Septa regional rail train

There are a few ways to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.: You can shell out the dough for Amtrak (expensive!), sit in traffic on I-95 (exhausting!), take the bus (slow!) or fly (bank-breaking!). That could change in the coming years, making travel between the two cities much easier and cheaper.

MARC and DART, Maryland and Delaware’s respective public transportation agencies, are currently discussing the possibility of bridging a long-time gap between Newark — a DART bus hub and SEPTA’s southern terminus — and Perryville, Maryland, MARC’s northernmost commuter rail stop, 20 miles away. Right now, that stretch has no commuter transportation, save for Amtrak and regional bus lines.  Read more »

SEPTA Investigating Arrest and Handcuffing of Man Holding Baby


UPDATE, 9:50 p.m., 6/26/15: SEPTA has released surveillance footage of the incident preceding the bystander video that shows one of its officers grabbing the man’s neck and throat.

ORIGINAL: SEPTA spokesperson Jerri Williams tells Philadelphia magazine that the agency is investigating an incident that was captured on video by a 16-year-old passenger during Thursday’s afternoon rush hour at the Huntingdon stop of the Market-Frankford El. Read more »

PATCO Restores Service


After being totally knocked out by Tuesday’s severe thunderstorm, PATCO resumed service just after noon today.

“Trains will run every 20 minutes until midnight when the regular schedule/timetable resumes,” the agency said on its website. “NJTransit will continue to honor PATCO FREEDOM Cards and tickets until 8 p.m. tonight.” Read more »

Storm Effects Disrupt Morning Rush

Pictures by Victor Fiorillo.

Pictures by Victor Fiorillo.

Good morning. Your commute may be interfered with by service disruptions caused by last night’s severe storms. Here is what we know:

PATCO service remains suspended. “PATCO remains without power from Tuesday evening’s storm and PSE&G has advised electricity will not be restored until at least after mid-morning on Wednesday, 6/24. Crews are working hard to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.”

So are some SEPTA regional rail lines: Paoli/Thorndale is suspended between Thorndale and Malvern, though service remains between Malvern and Center City. Service remains suspended on the Fox Chase and Media/Elwyn lines. The Norristown High Speed Line has service to Radnor Station only. For updates on all routes, check SEPTA’s system status.

PECO is reporting widespread outages, still: At least 50,000 customers in both Chester and Delaware counties, as well as at least 1,000 customers each in Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties.

Similarly, PSE&G estimates more than 45,000 customers are without power in South Jersey. Read more »

SEPTA Service Is Revived With Delays


Photo | Patrick Kerkstra

Update 9 p.m. SEPTA reports: “RRD: All regional rail service is operating with delays of up to 2 hours due to severe weather conditions and power problems.”

[Update 7:34 p.m.] The storm has also knocked out power throughout the region, and created a bunch of messes all over the place:

[Original] Tonight’s severe thunderstorm has made a mess of the evening commute.

To wit: Service across SEPTA’s regional rail network has been pretty much knocked out. The Airport, Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, Fox Chase, Glenside Combined, Lansdale/Doylestown, Media/Elwyn, Manayunk/Norristown, Trenton, Warminster, Wilmington/Newark,  and West Trenton are all suspended until further notice. (Emphasis ours.) You can use SEPTA’s website to find alternate service.

PATCO was also having problems: Read more »

SEPTA Trains Temporarily More Crowded As Safety Upgrade Installed

Septa regional rail train

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s the good news, commuters: Over the next few months, SEPTA will install equipment on its trains to make your ride safer than ever.

The bad news? Until that work is done, trains on SEPTA’s regional rail network are likely to be crowded and unpleasant.

“We know that you’ve noticed and are annoyed by the shortages and crowding,” the transit agency said in a message to riders this month, “but we ask you to please bear with us while we complete this life-saving safety improvement work.” Read more »

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