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Taking Riders Out of Winter's Gloom

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

For just a few days in the beginning of every March, SEPTA becomes more than a way to travel to and from work and school - the Authority's trains, buses and trolleys become the best way to escape the gloom of winter and fast forward to spring with a visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show. The 2018 show, with the theme "Wonders of Water", was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center March 3-11.

During the nine-day event, SEPTA's Jefferson Station is "Flower Show Junction", the hub for travel to and from the show. "The Pennsylvania Convention Center is located above Jefferson Station, making it easy for our customers to get to the show, without going back out into the cold," said SEPTA Assistant General Manager of Customer Service & Advocacy, Kim Scott Heinle. "We also decorate the station with bright balloons and other items that reflect the Flower Show's theme, to get visitors in the mood before they enter the show. The hit every year is our balloon wall photo opportunity spot."

Thousands attend the Flower Show each year - 250,000 visitors made their way to this year's show, braving two late season Nor'easters that hit the Philadelphia region just a few days apart. Thousands of those guests use the Authority's Regional Rail lines.

"This is one of the biggest customer service events of the year for the Authority," said Heinle. "Many of the visitors using SEPTA to get to the Flower Show are infrequent riders and use the system just a few times a year. To help customers navigate the station, find their schedules and train platforms and locate Center City landmarks, we deployed 250 friendly and helpful employee Ambassadors throughout the Flower Show to welcome attendees, answer their questions and take photos."

To help SEPTA riders get in the mood for the Flower Show and the better weather coming in the not too distant future (hopefully), the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society decorated two Regional Rail cars with flowers, ferns and other beautiful plants, which were used in regular daily service throughout the show. Visitors at Jefferson Station were also treated to a performance by the "Got Strings" youth orchestra on March 10.

"The Flower Show week is a hectic time for SEPTA, but the event gives us a great opportunity to interact with our regular customers and those not familiar with our system," said Heinle. "We can showcase our service and employees and demonstrate that mass transit is the best way to get around the region."

SEPTA employee Ambassadors were ready to help Flower Show patrons navigate their way to and from the show and around Center City.

The balloon wall is always a popular spot for Ambassadors to take guests' photos.

Lucky customers had the chance to ride in a Regional Rail car decorated by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The "Got Strings" youth orchestra provided musical entertainment for customers at Jefferson Station.