Ready to Ride

How SEPTA-savvy are you? Take this handy quiz and find out.



My husband likes to tell me that if I were in charge of the world, everything would be done perfectly. And he is so right—starting with public transportation, two words which wouldn’t go together in a truly perfect world.

However, with our dwindling natural resources, growing urban population and global warming crisis, I’m prepared to do my part. Which is why I always take the train to Philadelphia rather than drive my car. And to amuse myself during a few recent rides, I devised this little quiz for other suburban SEPTA riders.

1.) A fare surcharge may apply to the following passengers:
a.) Those with off-peak tickets who are now riding in peak time.
b.) Those who pay on the train itself, even when there is no other option.
c.) Whoever the conductor decides is aggravating.

2.) Peak times are determined as follows:
a.) The most heavily traveled periods of the day.
b.) 5 a.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, except for a variable window of time determined on a rotating schedule known only to SEPTA.
c.) Left to the conductor’s discretion.

3.) The most common reason given for delays in service is:
a.) Weather-related problems (even a light drizzle counts).
b.) Unforeseen repairs/construction on the tracks.
c.) No reason at all.

4.) As you pull into each station, you will hear:
a.) “We are now approaching Bxqxrrthynipser!”
a.) Actually, you won’t hear anything because the intercom either isn’t working or is too faint.
c.) Several squeaks, an ear-splitting screech and then dead silence.

5.) The following is considered proper etiquette when a half-full, sticky Gatorade bottle rolls onto your foot:
a.) Kick it gently to another passenger and make a new friend.
b.) Stop it with your foot so it doesn’t keep rolling all over.
c.) Using the disposable, sanitized hospital gloves that you always carry, retrieve the bottle and throw it in the nearest trash receptacle. (Oops, there isn’t a trash receptacle.)

6.) The metal steps passengers must use for boarding and departing the trains are:
a.) Guaranteed to ice over quickly in sleet or snow.
b.) Designed for a person with the leg span of an Olympic broad jumper.
c.) A sure way to embarrass the disabled and elderly as they try to make the leap up or down.

7.) Hours for our suburban ticket stations are:
a.) 10:30-11:45 a.m. and 12:15-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Closed weekends (so you have to pay that surcharge).
b.) 7:30-8:35 a.m. alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays, except during a leap year or months ending in a “y.”
c.) As posted (when you can make them out through all the graffiti).

8.) When faced with your choice of seatmate, you choose:
a.) Homeless person who hasn’t showered in weeks.
b.) Clueless college girl who is surgically attached to her cell phone.
c.) Guy who looks like the shoe bomber’s brother.

9.) Which of the following phrases strikes the most anxiety into the soul of a regular SEPTA rider?
a.) “Shuttle buses to support train diversions.”
b.) “Track improvement project.”
c.) “Schedule changes at our discretion.”

10.) In order to understand the new fare structures and refund policies for on-board cash ticket purchases, you must have:
a.) The patience of a saint.
b.) An MBA from Wharton.
c.) The ability to totally suspend logic.

Haverford-based freelance writer Kathy Stevenson wishes safe and happy travels to all.