The SEPTA 15 trolley drives me crazy.
And I don’t mean in a Cuckoo’s Nest chuckin’-water-fountains-for-freedom type of crazy, either.
But if I get stuck behind one of those slowly rolling electric-powered bathtubs one more time when I’m late for work, I just may have to bash it to pieces with a trash bag full of SEPTA’s own criminally overpriced tokens.
If you’re one of the many people who get trapped driving behind this ugly snot-green coffin, you may wonder who in their right mind actually wants a trolley clogging up Richmond Street (one of the busiest streets in the river ward).
Well, I’ll tell you who I think digs the trolley on Richmond Street: People who either don’t drive on Richmond Street or folks who never depend on the 15 to get to and from work.
Now, I’ve heard myriad reasons why it’s so important for SEPTA to run trolleys instead of buses.
Some say using the trolleys is a way of “going green.” I mean, what better way to show the world Philly wants to cut down on carbon emissions than to run a fleet of public transportation vehicles that don’t wheeze around town on gasoline?
Well, it’s great as long as you ignore the two-dozen cars spewing exhaust fumes while they idle behind the trolley.
On the whole, SEPTA’s trolley lovin’ will not really do a thing to combat global warming. Right now there are millions of people speeding through streets all over the world in gas-guzzlers. And you’re going to tell me that SEPTA, by running a grand total of eight trolley routes, is somehow going to curb climate change?
That’s like passing out a coupon for the nicotine patch in a room full of chain-smokers.
Another reason some love the 15 trolley is that it’s “pretty.” In wintertime they’re strung with Christmas lights and stuff like that.
Except the 15 trolley isn’t in any way pretty, handsome, attractive or cute when it’s freezing outside and you’ve been waiting for the trolley for two hours because some jerk with a double-parked pickup truck is blocking the tracks at 2nd and Girard!
At that point, I wouldn’t care if SEPTA slapped pictures of kittens and puppies on the trolley. I just want a vehicle that can swerve around a minor obstacle.
Also, have you ever been on a trolley that’s stuck behind one of those double-parkers? Not fun. But what infuriates me about this trolley more than anything is the claim of proponents that it cuts costs.
SEPTA doesn’t have to pay for gasoline for trolleys since they run on electricity, so, logically, that should save the company money, right? But if that’s the case, then why are fares raised every other year? Do SEPTA drivers now have a Jacuzzi and massage beds in their break room?
I mean, if the trolley is cutting costs, SEPTA obviously isn’t using the savings to give riders a break.
Hey SEPTA, I have to work a second job to afford getting to my first job because transpasses cost eighty bucks! If you’re saving so much by running the gas-free trolley, how about throwing us a token or two?
But I digress.
For now we’re getting a reprieve — because of construction projects, SEPTA is temporarily idling the trolleys and running buses.
Already, I can feel my aggravation level starting to drop. ••
Riverward Rants reflects the opinions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown resident, area native and writer of the Web site PhillyNeighbor.com, where he makes cynical (and uncensored) comments about life in the riverwards while shamelessly peddling his novel, “Holdout.”
He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com.