It’s still hard out there for a bus driver: Part II

One day after we updated the previously reported story about a 52 bus driver being beaten by three punk kids, we now have some new details about a 7 bus driver who asked a rider to quiet down her screaming toddler.  The rider reacted by spitting on the bus driver and hit him over the head with an umbrella before getting off the bus at 23rd and Fairmount Ave.  Completely unjustifiable.  The rider, Tiffany Alexander, 25, was charged with aggravated assault.

It’s still hard out here for a bus driver

We previously reported this horrific story about a 52 bus driver being beaten by three punk kids.  But now some new details are emerging that show just how dangerous being a bus driver can be.

According to the Daily News, the bus driver had pressed his priority call button to try to summon police response quickly.  But despite pressing this button, police still didn’t get to him in time.

Buried in this story is this detail:

In February alone, there were 458 priority request calls from drivers, she said.

Yikes.  That’s more than 15 a day.  Or one every hour and a half. 24 hours a day.

Bad weekend for SEPTA bus drivers

Two seperate incidents happened over the weekend that injured SEPTA bus drivers.

On late Saturday night, 3 teenagers dragged a bus driver off the 52 bus and assaulted him, leaving him with a possible broken nose and stitches.  All three teens were picked up by police only a few blocks from the incdient. 

And early Sunday morning, a 42 bus was hit by an SUV that went through a red light causing the bus to crash into multiple cars and a tree on Spruce St.  The bus driver and a handful of passengers were injured in the accident.  SEPTA left a note on all of the cars that were damaged to contact them regarding the accident.  

Come on folks, as noted in the Inquirer this morning, Sunday was the 3rd Annual International Bus Driver Appreciation Day!

SEPTA rider jams cell phone conversations… and NBC 10 undercover investigators are on it

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The local NBC station went undercover on the 44 bus last week when riders complained that a passenger was using a handheld device that he had purchased online to jam their cell phone conversations.

An NBC10 employee, who the NBC10 Investigators are calling “Marie,” says she freaked out when she saw the man jamming passengers’ cell phones on her SEPTA bus ride to work.

“He’s blatantly holding this device that looks like a walkie-talkie with four very thick antennae. I started to watch him and any time somebody started talking on the phone, he would start pressing the button on the side of the device,” said Marie.

This story has caused such a commotion, that an online blogger has tracked down Eric to learn exactly what type of jammer he used.

Really, NBC?  With all the scandalous stuff going on out there, this is a priority?  Tomorrow night on NBC, we’ll have exclusive footage of SEPTA riders in the rain who bring their wet umbrellas on the bus and the El without shaking them off first.


By popular vote, meet SEPTA’s top lovers

Last month, we told you about SEPTA’s contest to find riders who had found love while riding SEPTA.

The votes have been tabulated, the results are in, the press releases have been issued, and the love train has left the stadium.

We have a winner:

Love Found On Route 31

Our eyes first met in the fall of 2006, I caught Michael’s bus(31) on time every morning. I said good morning He said hello. I took my seat. This went on for two years until one day I didn’t see him anymore. Well in the summer of 2009 leaving work too tired to walk to the trolley, I decided to catch the 31home and when the doors opened, it was love at first sight. We smiled at each other like where have you been? On 12/25/11 Michael proposed to me and now we will live happily ever after 🙂

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SEPTA bus driver loses UC appeal after yelling at cop & lying to her boss about it

Note to bus drivers: if you ever find yourself in traffic and get off your bus to check with police about why the traffic is being held up, do not do the following: (1) get off your bus without following proper procedures (even if the passengers are “antsy”); (2) yell at the cop; (3) lie to your boss later about what happened if the cop calls SEPTA to complain about you.  Because, if you do, you will likely be fired and will not be eligible for Unemployment Compensation.

Veronda Roundtree, unfortunately, found that out the hard way.  Excerpts from her unsuccessful UC appeal below.

On November 12, 2010, [Roundtree] was driving her bus when it was stopped in Collingdale due to traffic. She exited the bus to determine the problem and allegedly got into a verbal altercation with a police officer regarding the traffic problem….

Before a Referee, [Roundtree’s boss] testified that he received a phone call from the Chief of Police of Collingdale regarding an incident that [Roundtree] had with a police officer who was helping with an evacuation drill at a school with about 800 kids. He stated that traffic was stopped on MacDade Boulevard for about 10 minutes and, according to the Chief of Police, [Roundtree] got off her bus and confronted one of the police officers. She was arguing that he should let traffic through. The police officer became irate and called Employer’s Control Center.

[Roundtree], appearing pro se, testified that when she came upon the stopped traffic, her passengers were antsy and she had always been told to keep the passengers informed. So she thought she was doing her job by getting off of the bus and asking the police office what was going on. She stated that she had to get off the bus to let Control know why traffic wasn’t moving and to let the passengers know what was going on. When she asked the police offer why traffic wasn’t moving, he didn’t say anything and just looked at her.

The Commonwealth Court decision doesn’t say what bus she was driving, but does say she was on MacDade Boulevard in Collingdale.  Must be the 113.

C you later

That bus that you’ve been riding down Broad Street since you’ve been a kid?  Say goodbye to the C.

Starting Sunday, the C designation will end, replaced by the 4 and the 16.  Why?  According to SEPTA:

Ever looked at a Route C destination sign and wondered if it would take you as far as you wanted to travel or gotten on a bus that only went to 15th & Market when you wanted to go to Broad & Snyder? This is a major route serving a lot of people, but if any of these situations happened to you then you know why we’re making it two separate routes: 4 & 16.

The change was approved by the SEPTA board at its board meeting on December 15.  Click here to see how the schedules will compare.

The decision was panned by the Daily News in an editorial in December.

We believe that rebranding this route would cause major confusion and would not solve any issues whatsoever….

Rather than rebranding this route, steps should be taken to make it operate better and to eradicate the confusion. Here’s our idea to improve service:

All trips should operate from South Philadelphia to Cheltenham and Ogontz. You would institute a pattern and have every other bus operate to Cheltenham via Fern Rock along its current routing with a minor modification.

And one rider worried that it will continue to drive our City apart:

Stephanie Williams of Mt. Airy said the new routes would only serve to separate Philadelphians from one another.

“It’ll be very convenient for all the new Center City yuppies to not have to co-mingle with people who ride that bus from one end of the city to the other,” said Williams. “It’s in keeping with what’s going on – two cities in one.”

We’ll see in the weeks and months ahead if these predictions come true.

But for the nostalgic among us, it’s just another move to wipe away our transit history.  In the old days, I understand, all the trolleys were numbered and all the buses were lettered.  But as buses replaced trolleys, numbers replaced letters.  And today, we have just the G, H, J, K, L and R buses remaining.

Inquirer steps up its coverage of SEPTA, runs two great stories in the past week

Two really great SEPTA stories in the Inquirer over the past few days.  Did you catch them?

On Friday, Kia Gregory reported on a training program run by SEPTA to teach bus drivers–350 so far–about conflict avoidance and de-escalation techniques.

There were about 90 assaults on them while on duty in 2011, 81 of them physical. That was up from 20 in 2010, partly due to more aggressive reporting.

It’s tough out there.

Then on Sunday, Miriam Hill reported on the old Philadelphia & Reading railroad tunnel, now owned and maintained by SEPTA that runs from Girard Avenue down south under the  Art Museum and out near the Whole Fields behind the soon-to-open Barnes Museum.

It’s good to see the Inquirer finding good interesting SEPTA stories to write about.  I’ve previously complained about the typical boring SEPTA story that runs in the Inquirer.  Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of a trend.

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