Last week, Philadelphia got some shocking news. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) declared that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, known around here as SEPTA, was the “best of the best” in American public transit. This fall, SEPTA will receive APTA’s coveted Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.
Many SEPTA riders are speechless with surprise.
According to a press release on the SEPTA website, APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy received a tour of SEPTA’s control center and called it “amazing”.
“SEPTA and its many accomplishments and achievements are models for the rest of the public transit industry,” he said.
Whether or not Melaniphy visited any of SEPTA’s subways, trolleys, buses or trains remains unclear.
People say that Philadelphians love to hate their transit system. But SEPTA’s not all bad.
But starting just a block or two away from these central stations, it’s a different world. I can’t tell it better than these pictures can. I took all of these within about two hours, passing through a couple transit stations in the course of a normal evening on the job.
After brief rainstorm, water puddles everywhere in a subway station one stop south of City Hall.
On the way up to the street:
Here’s the ceiling of the main concourse between Suburban Station and the north-south subway line.
Here is the ceiling of a Suburban Station entrance one block from City Hall.
Forget a trip to the caverns. SEPTA has all the stalactites you could want.
If you come down into the subway, here’s how you can pay for your ride.
Renovations are under way at the 15th Street trolley stop; here is an example of the signage to help riders find their way.
There are a lot of things to be proud of in my home city. But I’m embarrassed by the state of its public transit. Now, I can’t even say what I feel upon learning that these pictures show North America’s best public transit system.
Do you live in Philadelphia? Do you think SEPTA deserves the award? If you’re not from Philly, what is public transit like in your city?