Mass Chaos (a/k/a SEPTA)

Yes, today was another example of SEPTA’s (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) incompetence.  Apparently Amtrak lines were experiencing power failures, which affected our regional rail service.  This was not SEPTA’s fault.  It merely shut down an entire commuter rail system serving the Delaware Valley.  However, why would SEPTA have us board the train, knowing this problem was in place and knowing they could not take us all the way into Center City, and then tell us two stops into our trip about it?  At this point commuters do not have the option of foregoing the train and hopping in their cars and driving in to town.  They are stuck.  Hostages of one of the most incompetently managed public transportation systems in the country. 

I was lucky enough to get off at the Glenside station, which is four stops after Ambler.  My husband and son picked me up.  We drove my son to camp and my husband drove me in to work.  Then home again for him and out to Radnor.  All in all a harrowing morning of driving.

I understand the occasional glitch in the rail system.  Mechanical failures, power failures, signal failures, etc.  What I cannot comprehend is why SEPTA feels no obligation to inform its passengers of these issues prior to their boarding the train.  The conductor could have made an announcement at our station, giving us the opportunity to make a decision as to whether to board the train in the hopes that it would eventually arrive in Center City, or opt to not board the train and seek alternative means of transportation.  I’m shaking my head, because after 25 years of using this system the story remains the same.  Incompetence, poor management, and overall lack of respect for the customer remain the hallmarks of SEPTA’s service.  I am permanently wed to using this mode of transportation.  But believe me, if I could get a quickie divorce, I would.

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