Chaz Meyers (cpm) wrote,
Chaz Meyers

Customer Satisfaction Sold Separately

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.
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