Why I Love the Bus

Spreading the gospel of SEPTA's greatest achievement

So I realize that I am walking a fine line here between unsolicited endorsement and sounding like I just learned about this thing called the SEPTA bus. (And lo, it takes you places and it is air-conditioned and it smells better than a cab!)

But y’all, once July hit and the temperatures shot up and the air was as wet and still and sweltering as the tropics, I started to ride the bus a lot more than usual. (I generally walk.) And I noticed something: My bus is always clean. My bus is quiet. My bus is usually on time. My bus has an electronic banner that helpfully announces stops and the time of day, and stepping onto my bus is like taking a walk through the freezer section of the Whole Foods (with less Lululemon and/or hemp necklaces)—cool, and just very vaguely breezy. The people on my bus stand up and offer seats to older riders, and, often times, men offer their seats to women. The driver says hi. The bus might be the politest part of my day. (And at very least, it certainly beats tromping to work through puddles of my own sweat.)

To be honest, the consistency of the awesomeness surprised me. I have fussed—loudly and often—about Septa. The subway is crap. (The token system is absurd and inconvenient, the people behind the plexiglass are both proudly unhelpful and almost comically sour about it, the maps are unclear, the stations are filthy, blah blah and etc.) Even the R trains, which are—by any standards—pretty darn nice, could still use better maps, consistent announcing of stops, newer trains, better ventilation, better enforcement of quiet hours, fewer people screaming on cell phones. I use them both pretty regularly—but not always happily.

But the bus? It’s like a small daily miracle. I feel compelled to hereby proclaim my gratefulness (Seriously! Grateful!) to SEPTA (SEPTA!), for getting this one so right. I am a full-out bus evangelist. They say ridership on Septa is higher than it’s been in years, and though I suppose for most people that’s probably about gas prices, for me, it’s about love. And air-conditioning.