Travel Journal: SEPTA Transportation


February, 18, 2012

9:35 AM

It has been decided! My girlfriend, Christa, and I begin walking to the Glenside train station with all our equipment (my video equipment and her photography equipment) after deciding to ride every form of SEPTA transportation. The train to Market East Station is scheduled at 9:59AM and we are both strutting down the street with excitement mixed with a hunger for adventure. We only have $15 for the both of us and we are hoping maybe we can settle for a One Day Convenience Pass since it is $4 dollars cheaper than the $11 Independence Pass.

10:05 AM

We are now on the train. Seconds after boarding it, I realized that we are on a Quiet Ride car. The thing is, it is really not all that quiet right now which means there’s a decent amount of people that do not mind neglecting the rules of the Quiet Ride during this time of this day. One of the conductors is a man with long red hair and a slight British accent or something similar to one. He came around and we were informed that Convenience Passes cannot be purchased onboard trains because they do not work for SEPTA transportation by train. So unfortunately since we did not have the required $22 to buy two Independence Passes, we bought two tickets for one way only which amounted to $12 for the both of us. This was a little bumming considering that in order to complete our mission there are still two Independence Passes to be bought! Christa is currently informing and convincing her parents that she needs more money for the completion of this trip. Hope that goes over well…or this will be the shortest journey and quickest waste of money I’ve experienced in a long time.

10:25 AM

We have reached Market East Station and the enthusiasm has slightly dwindled as we have been reminded of our “broke college student” statuses. To kill the time as we plan our next move and await deposits of extra money, I count my small case of quarters, dimes, and nickels and realize that it is a total of $8.10. That means we could have so painstakingly paid the amount of $22 with a third of payment being in coins. Go figure.

Anyway, it’s time to decide what is to be the next form of transportation if we’re going to continue this trip.

12:20 PM

So extra money came through for us and after much walking, looking, and question-asking, we have finally arrived at Drexel University campus by way of the SEPTA trolley. We were directed to catch one from 13th Street to 33rd Street and though the ride was fairly smooth and short, I can say that the trolley reminds me of some weird hybrid: It made frequent stops like a bus but traveled underground for most of the trip like a subway train. This is, of course, not what came to mind since I was used to associating the word “trolley” with a decorative transport that always offers tours. In all curiosity, I actually do not know why one would prefer a trolley unless they are traveling above ground at some point (which we did not). Anyway, we are going to explore a little and then head to University of Pennsylvania’s campus for a small sample of University City.

1:20 PM

As you can probably see from the time that I wrote this, it took us a while to reach UPenn’s campus due to our slow tourist-paced walking. We had stopped to order chicken over rice from a Halal food stand just a couple of blocks or so from our destination. I did not think this was a good idea at all considering Christa had taken me to a Halal food stand for my first time during my first trip to New York EVER this past Thanksgiving break and the rice had this unusual and unpleasing minty flavor. But once again, my stomach one-sidedly won the battle against the memory and I decided to give it a second shot. We both are now stuffing our faces and scoping out potentials for filming/photographing.

3:13 PM

Okay once again this time log, compared to the previous, should be a clear indication of how much I was all over the place without writing to let you guys in on the action. I was hesitant to admit it at first, but I had ADD since arriving at UPenn’s campus. I didn’t know where to go, what to see, what or who to film. All in all, we did a great bit of walking and sight-seeing around the campus but it’ll take more time and focus to give sufficient detail on the beauty of the campus. Perhaps another day… It is getting colder and windier and I’m racing against sunset to allow for the best shots possible. We are now taking a trolley back to 13th and Market Street. It is just as smooth as the last ride except that I have become more aware of the loud squeak and squeal noises caused by what sounds like grinding metal. Due to our route, we once again stay mostly within the tunnel rather than on the open street. Kind of takes away from the potential experience of the trolley but I’ll save that for another day as well.

3:43 PM

Almost there…there are still a couple more transportations left. Still hungering for adventure, we are now waiting at Market East Station for a SEPTA subway to take us to South Street and sight-see a little more before heading home. Nothing too unexpected or out of the ordinary is really happening in the realms of public transportation. Anyway, I apologize ahead of time because I may once again not be competent in writing journal entries …

6:33 PM

Well? What did I tell you? Almost three hours later! From the inside, the subway was not much different from the train as you probably can imagine except for the underground travel. We are a little bit behind our planned schedule due to our South Street Exploration detour that included a curious trip to Condom Kingdom (don’t ask) and we are now riding the train back to Glenside train station. The particular car we are in this time is not designated as a “Quiet Car” so the people are even more talkative and noisy than this morning. The conductor punched a hole in our passes as the last ride but there’s just one more form of SEPTA transportation left…I hope the bus doesn’t take forever to pick us up when we get back.

7:05 PM

We had watched a bus taking off as soon as we got off the train and were sitting on the bench with obvious disappointment to await the next one. Surprisingly, within about three minutes the next bus came. With a short explanation to the driver that the conductor on the train hole-punched our passes misunderstanding that that was our last ride when it indeed was not, we were on our way. It was now dark so the ride seemed accordingly lit. It was short, to the point, and we were back to campus before we knew it. I’m exhausted right now and already I hope to be able to do this again sometime one day soon but with more time allotted. If you are ever interested, I highly recommend doing it. It may just be me, but I felt like I was a VIP when using the Independence pass. That’s just more incentive for you, but don’t carry a bunch of video/photography equipment around with you or it may not be as enjoyable as I’m making it seem and you’ll hate that you even took time to read this article. Until next time!

Photo Credit: Stephen Janofsky. Photo used under Creative Commons license.

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