When Philadelphia working commuters began preparations for their July 4th festivities this past weekend, they were met with alarming news. The Regional Rail service on the city’s mass transit system SEPTA, has been downscaled. Without warning, thousands of commuters were forced to adjust the condensed mode of transportation, which they took daily, to multiple and diverse resources. In a press release, SEPTA outlined the cause of the transit turmoil:
On Sunday, July 3rd, SEPTA provided details on the defects that were discovered on our fleet of Silverliner V Railroad cars, which prompted the immediate removal of the 120 Silverliner V cars from service…These 120 cars represent approximately 1/3 of the Regional Rail fleet and account for approximately 13,000 available seats for our customers. Since these cars make multiple trips during the morning and evening peak periods the impact to our customers is substantial.”
With 120 cars abruptly removed from service, SEPTA began scrambling to inact a new schedule that could possibly replicate the intense commute for many travelers. SEPTA resolved that many of the lines would operate on an enhanced Saturday schedule and others on an exact Saturday schedule. The mass transit organization also implored its customers to utilize other routes of transportation such as the subway, buses, shuttles, and alternative high speed lines.
RRD: Starting Tuesday Regional Rail service will be operating on a modified Saturday schedule due to defect in our Silverliner V equipment.
— SEPTA (@SEPTA) July 4, 2016
On Tuesday Morning, the day after the long holiday weekend, Septa’s new schedules went from being a structural concepts to utilization. The results were unsettling. The unfortunate customers who never caught wind of the switch were displaced and the people who tried to navigate their new transit choices were either met with delays or feelings of discontent.
SEPTA warned that crammed corridors in subway cars and filled buses would be the headline of the coming weeks, yet it seems that many were not prepared for the reality of such hectic traveling. Passengers created the hashtags #PHLCommute and #SEPTApocalypse to vent their frustrations.
— Kaitlyn Buchler (@kaitbuchler) July 5, 2016
This is only going to get worse when people return from the holiday week #PHLCommute
— Kenny Lee (@KennyLeePhotos) July 5, 2016
#SEPTApocalypse will be the death of me ?? need to leave 2 hours early to get to work on time and it only takes 40 minutes to get there…
— Morgan Winder (@morgan_winder) July 6, 2016
SEPTA has instilled a refund program in an attempt to ease the tensions between mass transit and its devout customer base. There are two options: a full refund or a credit towards a consumer’s next purchase.
More than likely, the SEPTA populace needs their Regional Rail passes to get them to their jobs. Many have been faced with the harsh realities of new alarm times and schedule searches on their mobile phones. Competitors such as Uber or Lyft may have found a way to collect new customers from SEPTA’s disastrous 48 hours. With the holiday commuters coming back in full mass later in the week, this notions leaves many travelers with the uneasy sensation that the worse is yet to come.