Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties
Joseph M. Casey
Providing a pleasant travel experience is what we want every time you ride. To make that happen, SEPTA and SEPTA customers have to work together if the Passenger Etiquette program is going to succeed.
One of the highlights was a campaign to revise our systemwide eating and drinking rules. These changes were based on what we know about your hectic lives and the important part SEPTA plays in keeping you moving. Some of you race to get the kids to school or daycare so your morning ride may be the only time to eat breakfast before the clock starts ticking on your work day. For others, your evening ride may be dinner hour -- the time between your first job and second job or the trip between work and school.
We tried to make it easier by allowing drinks in commuter cups with sturdy, resealable lids and light, small snacks (not cooked or prepared foods) as long as 3 basic conditions were met -- that other passengers were respected by not bringing messy, strong smelling food on board; you recycled all bottles and cans; and took your trash with you.
We tried getting the message out by saying please and using humor, unfortunately these approaches have not provided the results we wanted. The stains, spills, and trash left behind continue on a regular basis.
Other transit properties have very restrictive rules that don't allow any eating and drinking in stations and on vehicles. We think that's too extreme, but we cannot continue to expend time and resources cleaning up after everyone.
I've read the customer complaints about trash and heard the comments that SEPTA can't keep vehicles and stations clean. All SEPTA vehicles go out clean, but at the end of the first trip, the trash and wrappers start accumulating. By the end of the day it can be gross. We have vehicle cleaners and station porters who pick up discarded food wrappers and mop sticky drink spills, but you also have to help by following the rules and taking your trash.
This has to be a partnership. A little consideration for fellow riders will go a long way in making public transit more pleasant for everyone. If we work together you can enjoy your ride, other customers can enjoy their ride without worrying about getting food stains on their clothes, and we can focus our maintenance staff on bigger housekeeping projects.
While the 2011 Passenger Etiquette plan is being finalized, we're giving humor one more try. I invite you to view the latest InMotion feature. The scenarios in the video are extreme but we hope that you will see the need for common sense and common courtesy if you want to eat or drink on a SEPTA vehicle.