25 February 2009

Local transit updates

Round-up of a few recent SEPTA developments:

  • SEPTA may extend the R6 regional rail line way past Norristown, to Wyomissing (a little beyond Reading). The extension would almost double the length of the line. There are freight tracks already in place, so I guess the infrastructure question would have to do with building stations and parking areas. Or maybe there are some stations already there? I don't know if the tracks were part of the Reading Railroad, though it looks like it on an old map I just found, and, if so, whether any old stations could be re-opened or rebuilt or whatever. Sounds neat to me, anyway, for 2 reasons. First, transit to Valley Forge, which would be an intermediate stop a little under half the way from Center City Philadelphia to Wyomissing, would be cool. Imagine if they put a pod of carshare cars at the train station -- day trip to the national historical park without having to fight Schuylkill Expressway traffic. And second, speaking of traffic, I'm not a suburban commuter but I hear rush-hour traffic reports all the time, and this line would probably take a heck of a lot of cars off of U.S. Route 422 during peak hours. If or when SEPTA gets its $200 million in federal stimulus money, I say go ahead toss a handful of it at extending the R6 into Berks County.

  • SEPTA rail and subway network ops simulation (Java). It's mesmerizing. And you can make it beep.

  • Philly Beer Week is approaching (6 - 15 March). SEPTA has fixed the passes, which they first printed with a picture of New York City's skyline, and you can buy them now. What good is the Beer Week pass? It's a one-day pass that gives you unlimited rides on buses, trolleys, and subways, plus regional rail arriving into Center City after 9:30 a.m., for $9. Do the math to see if it's a deal for you. At the very least it beats the $6 convenience pass because it's not limited to bus-trolley-subway; likely, it's a better deal than a round-trip ticket from the suburbs plus a roundtrip subway ride to your Beer Week (or non-Beer Week) venue of choice. Or here's another one: if you're taking regional rail for any reason that week, daytime or nighttime, check the fare table and compare the cost of the Beer Week pass with your round-trip ticket. Depending on the time of day and the fare zone, and as long as you don't try to use the pass to arrive at Center City in the morning, the pass may be the better deal.
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