Friday, March 2, 2007

Celebrating 100 Years of Elevated Piss and Vomit

"PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 26, 2007) – SEPTA will commemorate 100 years of subway-elevated train service in Philadelphia with a special day of celebrations beginning with free rides for passengers on the Market-Frankford Line.

As a token of appreciation for its many loyal customers, SEPTA will provide free Market-Frankford Line train service between noon and 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.

The day will mark a century of service since the line originally opened on March 4, 1907 and operated on elevated tracks through West Philadelphia as the Market Street Subway-Elevated before continuing through Center City in an underground tunnel and ending at ferry terminals along Delaware Avenue.

The riding public is invited to attend the festivities where they can commemorate the event by signing one of 12 specially made oversized birthday cards or listen to music played by legendary DJ Jerry Blavat."

This Centennial anniversary begs the question, when did The El first smell like urine? Did it have a grace period before people began to use it as a moving public toilet? Kind of like a "30 Feet High Club" but for incontinence. Hopefully this will be covered in the retrospective. I also hope an explantion of the painting/mural (right photo) is made as I have been to that area many times and there seems to be 100% less trash and condemned buildings in this rendering.

For more on my tirades about the malodorous conditions of Philadelphia Public Transportation, refer to my Award Winning article, "This City Stinks: An Olfactory History of Philadelphia".

(Top Photo copyright Steve Zable, 1980. Bottom Photo Copyright SEPTA. Text excerpted from SEPTA Press release)


Dave said...

i've toyed with the idea of starting a website called where I document every annoying thing that happens to me whilst using septa... every unexplained delay, every train the just doesn't show up, every foul unwashed troll who decides to sit next to me, every fight I see... it would be a cathartic type thingy.

Randy said...

Don't limit the site merely to SEPTA's godawful train service. Their buses and trolleys are just as shameful....maybe even more so.

There's a certain, special suckness to standing at a bus stop for twenty minutes -- waiting for a bus that's supposed to run every six -- and watching three consecutive buses of the same line approach like clueless aluminum elephants.

And the undeniable charm of an overcrowded bus with the heater on full blast during a pleasant 50-something-degree day while the bus driver has his window open because he finds the air a trifle stuffy.

Still, nothing beats SEPTA's trolleys, with their cadre of muttering, unwashed crazies and gratingly noisy buffoons. Still, at least the conductor can't duck out at a red light to buy a paper from the corner news vendor -- that's strictly a bus driver's move.

I'll wager the stricken trading ships that brought the Black Death from Crimea were a more pleasant and efficient mode of transportation than SEPTA.

Pat said...

My personal favorite Trolley moment: Woman changing a baby on the seat across from me. I'll spare you the details, but it was MESSY. Of cours the very nature of this is inappropriate but the fact that she didn't even put something between the baby and the seat made it even worse. Now whenever I see someone eating on the trolley I almost vomit.

Randy said...

Another unforgettable trolley moment: The trolley running through Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood derails, killing 19 and injuring scores more, including Henrietta Pussycat. Lawsuits dragged on for more than a decade.