Headaches for SEPTA riders trying to keep up with 'snow day' schedule

Justin Udo
March 04, 2019 - 1:32 pm
Lots of delays and hectic rides to work on ⁦SEPTA⁩ regional rail.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A modified SEPTA regional rail schedule was the cause for a lot of headaches Monday morning.

Riders should be prepared to see those same conditions remain in effect throughout the day.

Despite a lack of heavy snow, a lot of SEPTA regional rail riders still struggled to make it work Monday. The agency's Scott Sauer says that's because they went into a winer storm schedule and cut back the number of trains being used.

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"Our storm schedule runs about 516 trains during the day vs. our normal schedule of about 765," he said. "We also supplemented that with extra trains, which we run unscheduled. And today, for example, we ran 17 extra trains above our 516."

Sauer says the agency was expecting a bigger snow storm, and a lot less people using their services, so they cut back on their trains. And the rush of riders caught them off guard.

"We made this decision, and sure, more people came along. And we're happy about that," he said. "The people were able to get out and about, but at the same time we had to react with some extra service."

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SEPTA's decision did not sit well with a lot of Monday morning regional rail commuters.

"It was about 50 minutes delayed," said one commuter.

"Long, a little over an hour," said another.

Marvin, who works at Suburban Station in Center City, definitely noticed a little tension from the riders who finally made it in after a morning of delays and waiting.

"Aw, man. They're in a rush," he said. "Nobody wants to talk. Nobody wants to say nothing."

For Rafael, taking the Norristown line from Bala Cynwood to Center City, a majority of his morning was spent guessing and waiting for his train.

"It was crazy. I actually missed one train. It was actually around 27 minutes late," he said.

He says innacuarate updates from SEPTA also contributed to delay his ride to work and casued him to miss a "late train."

"I think the SEPTA app has a little bit of problems. One update was not up to date, actually. The train was supposed to be 20 minutes late, but apparently it was on time, so a lot of people missed that train, thinking they had to be at the station 20 minutes later."

After he got on the train, a shortage of available cars helped make for an uncomfortable ride.  

"There were no seats available on this last train," he said.

Thinking ahead to the ride home, Rafael says he's about done with SEPTA for the day.

"I think I might just Uber it," he said, referring to the ride-hailing app.

Sauer says SEPTA will be staying on that modified schedule throughout the day, but they are going to add some extra trains to the lineup.

"We'll run as many trains as we possibly can to accommodate whatever travel we have."