Monday, November 9, 2009

Transit: Another NY Victory Over Philly

The Philadelphia transit strike is over. That's another area where New York has it better: Philly has a lot more transit strikes.

And it's worse for them, because their commuter trains and buses are under the same agency (SEPTA, SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), whereas in New York, while Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road are both under the umbrella of the State-run MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), they have a separate labor union from the City subway trains and buses.

So if two guys are living in Trenton, and one works in Manhattan and the other in Center City Philly, normally, they would both go to what's now called the Trenton Transit Center, and the former would board New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor line into Penn Station at 32nd Street & 7th Avenue, while the latter would board SEPTA's R7 Line, and take that to one of three stations in Center City: Either 30th Street Station at 30th & Market Streets (former headquarters of the Pennsylvania Railroad if you're a Monopoly player), Suburban Station at 16th Street & JFK Blvd. (still known as Filbert Street east of City Hall), or Market East Station at 11th and Filbert.

But if there's a transit strike in New York, the one who works in New York can take New Jersey Transit's train into Penn Station, and then hoof it or pay the expense of a cab. But the one who works in Philly is all but stuck if SEPTA workers walk out. He'd have to get on the NJ Transit RiverLine, a light-rail system, and take that from Trenton down to Camden, and then get on the PATCO Speedline, a subway system that goes from Center City to Camden and on out to Lindenwold, and he'd end up at Market East Station or a couple of blocks south of City Hall and the nearby Suburban Station. He'd probably save a few bucks that way (the RiverLine is only $1.35 each way), but he'd also lose anywhere from 15 minutes to who knows how much time.

So that's another area where New York is better than Philly: Although Philly has a very good public transportation system, if there's a strike, it's a very bad siutation, much worse than if New York has one.

If I had the choice of living in Philly or suburban New Jersey, I'd take Philly. I love cities, and Philly is one of the cities I love. But if I had the choice of living in Philly or New York, come on. New York rules all.

All this talk about Philadelphia is giving me a craving for a cheesesteak. Fortunately, there's a Wawa store less than 2 miles from my pad. Sadly, it's the cloest one to Midtown Manhattan, and as far as I know, there's no New York equivalent to the great Philly (and Philly suburbs, and Jersey Shore) tradition that is Wawa.

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