9 June 09: INDEPENDENCE PASS
by Steve Ives
O! SEPTA, most beloved of Philadelphia institutions.
It takes a special person to spend an entire Saturday traversing the city via bus, train and trolley without some sort of issue to work out. In my earlier days, I used to take day trips to
New York simply to ride the subway and I was fairly normal - then.
This weekend's Independence Pass excursion gave me an opportunity to just sit, watch and listen to a SEPTA Saturday. A motorcyle rally in Frankford. Casual racism at Bridge & Pratt. And
daytrippers - endless hordes of people just going into the city for the day. Anyone who believes that SEPTA is a broken organization, purely used by those without another option hasn't taken
the time to see what the system looks like on a day when travel is, for most people, quite optional. I saw buzzing terminals, packed buses, a rainbow of faces in the crowds. It was
particularly interesting to see how busy life was under the Frankford El. Despite the constant shadow and less than bucolic surroundings, Kensington and Frankford Avenues were abuzz
nonetheless - all the activity of a suburban mall (or a beachfront) spread along miles of brick and asphalt.
You can get a good impression of city by riding it's transit system and there's certainly a lot to be told about Philadelphia by spending an appreciable amount of time riding SEPTA. Every
scrap of pretense is stripped away and all one gets is an honest impression of a city's people, their thoughts, their plans and their opinions of where they live. And I hope you get a sense
of that from these images.
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