December 31, 2014 |
UNTIL YESTERDAY, whenever I'd hear someone mention Waco, Texas, I'd think of one tragic thing and one funny thing. The well-known tragic thing: the deadly 1993 siege of the nearby Branch Davidian religious compound that killed 84 people, including four federal agents and 25 kids. The little-known funny thing: Waco is home to the Dr Pepper Museum. How hilarious is it that the city has a building with three floors of exhibits devoted to a soda that tastes like Robitussin? Yesterday, though, I learned a wild thing about Waco: Every New Year's Eve, its public-transit system offers free rides to revelers.
December 31, 2014 |
Joanne Williams has been riding Eugene "Smitty" Smith's Route 29 bus across South Philadelphia for many years. "He's an angel. He just don't want to marry me yet," she lamented the other morning. Since the SEPTA driver is retiring Tuesday, she knew this would be her last chance. At her stop, bracing herself on her cane, she whispered in his ear. "Nah," he replied, "my wife's a keeper. " They both smiled. Then she leaned in and gave Smitty a hug - he's been collecting many of those of late - and exited his bus at Broad Street for the last time.
December 29, 2014 |
LITTLE KRIS LI is the talk of the town. His mom, Yanjin Li, beamed with pride yesterday afternoon while talking about her son's much publicized entrance into the world Thursday night on a Market-Frankford El train. "Thank you to everyone who helped," an exhausted Li, 27, told the Daily News during a bedside interview in Hahnemann University Hospital. "It was so scary. " Li started having contractions Thursday afternoon, around the time other families were sitting down to Christmas dinner.
December 27, 2014 |
By the time the officers entered the subway car, they could see the baby's head crowning through his mother's sweatpants. A group of riders had already formed a semicircle around her, offering as much protection and comfort as they could on the Market-Frankford Line. SEPTA Police Sgt. Daniel Caban and Officer Darrell James arrived at the 15th Street station about the same time: 5:50 p.m. on Christmas. "Get your gloves ready," Caban told James. Caban, who had experienced childbirth only as an observant father, knelt and removed the woman's sweatpants as she practiced breathing exercises.
December 23, 2014 |
NIGHT AFTER NIGHT for weeks, Ada Williams of Mayfair ended her SEPTA shift at 2:10 a.m., pulled her bus into the Frankford Terminal, then spent hours turning a special "Happy Holidays" bus into a winter wonderland on wheels. Day after day, Williams' co-worker Dennies Scott of Mayfair did the same. The yuletide-fueled holiday bus - swaddled in candy-cane stripes on the outside, sparkling with ornaments and glitter wrap on the inside - has been carrying city riders to work and shopping since the day after Thanksgiving.
December 21, 2014 |
You can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater. Can an ad proclaim "Jew-Hatred: It's in the Quran" on a crowded bus? That's the free-speech issue before U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg in Philadelphia, who soon will have to decide whether a private group's ad targeting the Quran and seeking to "end all aid to Islamic countries" can appear on SEPTA's buses, trains, shelters, and kiosks. Defenders of the ad say it falls into one of the First Amendment's most preciously protected categories: public-issue speech.
December 20, 2014 |
SEPTA will spend $55.5 million to replace the 120-year-old Crum Creek rail bridge on the busy Media-Elwyn line in Delaware County, after approval by the SEPTA board Thursday. Replacement of the 925-foot-long bridge between Swarthmore and Nether Providence Township, which will require rail commuters to switch to buses for part of the route in 2016, is to begin early next year and be completed by the spring of 2017. The SEPTA board also approved other major spending Thursday, including: $6.6 million to buy 40 new 60-foot buses instead of 40-foot vehicles to accommodate more passengers.
December 8, 2014 |
COMING TO a SEPTA trolley, bus or train-stop near you: Anti-Islamic advertising, courtesy of the far-right group American Freedom Defense Initiative. At least, that may be where we're headed, after a judge's decision last week seemed to clear the way for the AFDI to expand its transit ad campaign beyond New York City, where it's currently assaulting eyeballs on Metro Transit Authority buses and trains. Back in September, the AFDI filed a lawsuit against SEPTA that accused the transit agency of violating the group's free-speech rights when it refused to sell ad space to AFDI.
December 1, 2014 |
PAUL "EARTHQUAKE" Moore, a former boxer turned soul-of-Southwest-Philly activist, is a force-of-nature food and toy gatherer during the holidays. He gave turkey-and-trimmings Thanksgiving dinners to 80 needy families - food he collected by sitting outside a big rental truck for 24 hours in the cold, inviting compassionate people to fill it. They did. Afterward, Moore thanked major food donors Barbara Capozzi, a South Philly real estate agent; Pasco Inc., a Southwest Philly scrap metal recycler, and the Island Super Market on Woodland Avenue near Island Avenue, which donated 10 turkeys and fed Moore cheesesteaks and coffee all night long.
November 25, 2014 |
Regional Rail engineers have asked federal regulators to require SEPTA to follow a safety rule designed to limit fatigue. SEPTA wants the Federal Railroad Administration to renew a waiver that the transit agency has had from the work rule for two years. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen asked the federal agency to deny SEPTA's request and hold a public hearing on the issue, citing accidents at other railroads caused by fatigued engineers. A sleep-deprived engineer was blamed for a fatal accident in New York last year in which a Metro-North Railroad train derailed while taking a 30 m.p.h.