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Customer Satisfaction Sold Separately - Chaz Meyers — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Chaz Meyers

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Customer Satisfaction Sold Separately [Mar. 3rd, 2005|03:49 pm]
Chaz Meyers
Today I had an interesting experience on SEPTA this afternoon.

I had just arrived at 69th Street Terminal and had gotten on an Eastbound El. There are two tracks, but there was only one El present. All the doors were open, and there were a fair number of people in each of the cars. It was the middle of the day, so it was not hard to find a seat. As is typical on El's, this one was a bit early, so I started writing some diagrams for a project, waiting for the El to leave. The doors closed, so it looked like we would be leaving soon.

About five minutes later, the loudspeaker turned on. "This train is out of service. Please go across the track."

The car made a collective audible groan. As one might expect, the inertia of sitting in one place for five minutes had already set in upon many of the passengers. I looked across the track, and another half full train was sitting, with doors wide open. The sign indicating the next departing train must have switched after I got on the El.

Dispite protests and only half of one of the door pairs slid opening, the crowd quickly poured onto the platform and approached the train. While forcing us to switch trains was inconvenient, it was likely that the new train would be filled once we joined its current passengers. That was a good sign; SEPTA doesn't like keeping full vehicals standing around for long. We would be leaving shortly.

Perhaps the opposite El was too anxious to leave. That must be it.

Once about half of my car boarded the operational El, it sung its favorite jingle. "Ding dong! Doors closing! Ding dong!" With a hiss, the doors shut.

This must have been a mistake, we thought. Our group spread across the whole stationary El, two or three people at each door. Once they realized their mistake, they could open the doors, we could find seats quickly, and we would be on our way. We all stood there for a minute and a half that felt like an eternity.

We all waited for an eternity in vain. The El scampered off towards the eastern horizon, never looking back at the customers who arrived before most of passengers it was carrying.

[User Picture]From: supacheex
2005-03-03 01:55 pm (UTC)
Chaz. This story makes me burn with anger.

Growing up, I took SEPTA everywhere since my dad was unable to drive. And all of my life I've received the same proverbial "dick in the butt" from SEPTA. Between the rude operators, terrible schedule compliance, and unbelievable rates, I don't know what to kill for first.

I feel your pain there duder.
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-03-06 07:23 am (UTC)
I think a little part of each of us dies whenever SEPTA fucks up.

At least we aren't dying alone. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: duckssaymip
2005-03-03 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I definitely miss SEPTA :) Great story, Chizzy. This is why you should be a writer and not a computer geek.
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[User Picture]From: instantdharma
2005-03-03 02:30 pm (UTC)
Agreed, Mikey!
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[User Picture]From: duckssaymip
2005-03-03 04:29 pm (UTC)
"Ladies and gentlemen... the voice of our generation: Charles Parker Meyers."

I can see it :)
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[User Picture]From: paininbutt
2005-03-04 06:22 am (UTC)
I hate septa this is my massive motivation after how many years to finally get my liscense
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-03-06 07:24 am (UTC)
You got your license? What? Did hell freeze over recently and I miss it? ;-)
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[User Picture]From: paininbutt
2005-03-06 06:07 pm (UTC)
no its motivation to do so =P
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[User Picture]From: chaossix6
2005-03-04 11:53 pm (UTC)
Look, just be happy they aren't on strike alright?
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[User Picture]From: cpm
2005-03-06 07:25 am (UTC)
Haha. How does NY mass transit compare to SEPTA? :)
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[User Picture]From: chaossix6
2005-03-06 10:40 am (UTC)

It's hard to even describe it.

There are TONS of train lines. (as seen here: http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm) and probably others I forgot. They're 24 hours, which rocks, and during rush hour most trains run every 5 or so minutes. You never really have to wait long for a train at rush hour.

The problem is that they run trains 24 hours, so whenever they have to update something, they usually do what's called a "service change." They'll post a note up telling you when it happens, but sometimes they don't post the note up until last minute.

There are like millions of service changes. One, they might just move one train onto another train's track for just a mile or so. (like putting one of the 8av trains on 6av and confusing the hell out of you). Or they'll run one of the local trains on an express track (when this happens, there's a note telling you to take the train in the opposite direction and then switching over to your direction at an express stop). Sometimes, they'll just shut down a number of stops and replace the train with a shuttle bus.

Also, the trains are all crooked and they often run different routes at different hours. For example, the M train goes through Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan and then turns and goes into a lower part of Brooklyn during rush hour. But during the day, it stops at Manhattan. And at night, it doesn't even go to Manhattan.

Basically, you just have to KNOW the train lines, which takes not too long. you start with the one you take to work/school and you learn the rest over time as you need them. Once you know them, MTA gives WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better service than Septa, even with all the hassles.

It's cheaper too, and the busses run a lot more often.
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