Sunday, August 30, 2009

SEPTA survival tips

  1. The Southbound 47 bus gets uncomfortably packed because of the throngs of people waiting for it around 8th & Market. If you really need to take the Southbound 47 bus, consider walking North a couple blocks to catch the bus at Arch St. or even Race St (before the melee).
  2. If at all possible, avoid taking the El during school-just-let-out time (2 to 3pm). Take the above-ground bus instead. My friend Mike grew up in N.E. Philly imparted this sage piece of advice on me. Fights are more likely to start in the mid-afternoon on the El because of the combination of freedom (out of school) and independence and hormones.
  3. If you do board a crowded bus like the Southbound 47, try to sit or stand as close as possible to the rear door exit so that you can just pull the 'Stop requested' string and make your quick getaway. If you are stuck in no-man's land (between the two exits, you will have to fight you way out).
  4. Do not take the Southbound 47 bus around 9:30PM - 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night unless you'd like to interact willingly or not with teams of rowdy teenagers.
  5. Say hi to the bus driver. Some drivers will actually reciprocate and genuinely smile.
  6. Never run for the bus unless you can make eye contact and wave down the driver. You're not going to catch the bus anyway.
  7. If you do find yourself sitting around the rear door exit when it's crowded, be prepared to do the SEPTA two-step dance (to maneuver to let people get out the exit).
  8. If you ever need a dose of hard reality, take the late night bus that substitutes for the Market-Franford El when it is not running. It's a sobering experience.
  9. Shouldn't be said but just like the Soup Nazi - be ready with your tokens or pass before you board the bus.
  10. If you buy a monthly SEPTA pass, write down the six-digit number. In case of loss or theft, you can call SEPTA and they will cancel the lost/stolen pass with the six-digit number (e.g. not swipable). Remember, depending on the zone, the SEPTA pass is worth around or over a hundred dollars - don't leave it unattended (despite what they say) - you wouldn't leave a hundred dollar bill out in the open would you?
  11. If you are thinking of taking SEPTA to an unknown/unfamiliar place, use Google Maps Street View to get a sense of what the area is like. This also applies for biking around unfamiliar areas of the city. Goggle Maps Street View is revolutionary for planning urban trips.
  12. As someone who relies on SEPTA nearly every work day, I appreciate SEPTA for the service they provide. Yes, sometimes buses (I'm talking about you, 33 from Art Museum) run on an obscure/late schedule or trains run late. But, SEPTA, is one of the *better* metropolitan public transportation systems.


  1. Please note: SEPTA is not responsible for lost or stolen passes. This policy is noted on the pass

  2. Party Bus PhiladelphiasI love the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that is working for you as well. Do you have any more info on this?


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