Anthony scanned the crowd every day, looking for Jackie, the beautiful woman who rode the same train he took to work. Cheryl looked up from her book and had a conversation with George, the man who said hello as they were waiting for the trolley.
While these sound like plots right out of Hollywood, the settings for these and many more real-life love stories were Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) vehicles, stations and platforms. For the third consecutive year, SEPTA cut the February chill by celebrating red-hot romance on the rails with its “SEPTA Love Stories” contest.
Finding the love of one’s life on public transportation happens all the time — at least it does in SEPTA’s five-county Greater Philadelphia service region. Over the past three years, hundreds of SEPTA Sweethearts have submitted their “moving” tales of “bliss on the bus” and “love on the line,” inspiring thousands to vote for their favorite mass transit Romeos and Juliettes. The 14 couples receiving the most votes win prizes, including an invitation to ride on the "Love Train" — a specially decorated Market-Frankford Line (“the El”) six-car train that takes passengers on a romantic ride with a perfect view of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's "Love Letter Project.” The trip to view the 50 rooftop murals in West Philadelphia along the Market-Frankford Line is followed by a VIP reception at SEPTA's downtown Philadelphia headquarters.
When you think about it, public transit is a perfect place to find a significant other. SEPTA serves one million riders a day, many of whom are eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, sharing stop after stop along the route (high-speed line dating, anyone?). Commuters heading to work see the same familiar faces day after day, many forming “train families” or finding “bus buddies.” They share details of their jobs, weekend plans and hobbies while traveling to and from the office. And then there are the wildcards — those who lock eyes with a stranger on the subway and take a chance at striking up a conversation. Sometimes a simple hello can lead to happily ever after.
The SEPTA Love Stories contest draws entries that run the gamut from falling for the operator who drives the bus every day to reuniting with an old flame. However couples found love, their tales give hope to single passengers that love can happen when and where it is least expected.
The next time you board your bus, train or trolley, Mr. or Ms. Right might be there waiting for you. For inspiration on sparking a romance on the rails, read the stories of the SEPTA Sweethearts at www.septalovestories.org.
While PTC may have just recently entered the consciousness of the public at-large, it has been an issue for freight and commuter rail systems since Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) (P.L. 110-432) in 2008 following the collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles. Since that time, rail organizations have been working toward meeting the federally-mandated PTC implementation deadline of December 31, 2015. With less than six months to go, several commuter rail systems have said that, not only will they not meet the deadline, they will need several more years before having full PTC implementation on their trains.
Disruptive technologies and the new era of information sharing are helping to evolve and advance public transportation in our nation’s greatest cities. Nearly 300 mayors and government officials convened in San Francisco June 19-22 for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Annual Meeting, featuring remarks from President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. I was invited to speak in front of these influential government leaders to discuss “Technology and the Transformation of Urban Transportation.” This article will give readers an inside look at the conversation.
In times of disaster or tragedy, public transit agencies are frequently called upon to assist their communities and other transportation organizations. In case of fire, evacuation or accident, buses may be used to shelter or transport the displaced or injured, or serve as a respite site for first responders.
As a city, Leipzig is an excellent example of the German principals of transport planning and service as well as eastern Germany’s long history. The city has benefitted from large amounts of investment in infrastructure over the years since German reunification and most transport systems seem to be new or rebuilt, expanded and in a very good current state of repair. The most notable element in the transport mix is inevitably the enormous and historic main railway station, which is one of the largest, but certainly not busiest, in Europe.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Regional (commuter) Rail system was inherited from the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads and the infrastructure in many sections of the system has been serving the Philadelphia area for more than 100 years. Fifteen years ago, overhead catenary system (OCS) failures were a common occurrence on SEPTA Regional Rail, a result of fatigue cracks and wear. The all too common OCS failures were frustrating for SEPTA customers who occasionally found it difficult to depend on train service for their travels and for SEPTA, whose crews were constantly working to repair and maintain the system.