It's no secret that SEPTA is in bad shape. It's pretty sad when the fifth largest city in the country (yes, Phoenix, you're still sixth) is so dependent upon public transit yet year after year faces 8 digit deficits. Whose fault is it? Depends who you ask. SEPTA's administration ... the City ... the State ... the drivers ... yours, mine, I don't really know. This essay is not about SEPTA's woes; but rather, one of its biggest hidden treasures.

Like New York City's MTA, SEPTA has a tourist-friendly pass that for $5.50 allows for 24 hours of riding across the entire system. Well, almost -- a purchase of one Day Pass allows for unlimited rides on the subway, the el, the trolleys and the buses, and permits one one-way trip on any regional rail line that doesn't go to Trenton. (Got all that?)

On Saturday, the 4th of December 2004, I tried to fit as much into one day as I could. I ran out of daylight (and more importantly, camera battery power) before I could hit parts of the region I'd hoped to (Chestnut Hill, Valley Forge and Eastwick, for example), so it might be worth another try in six months when the days are longer. Meantime, get your pass ready, we're boarding.