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Getting There: The ISEPTAPHILLY Blog

February's "Love Makes the Ride Worthwhile" Contest

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Throughout all of February, SEPTA celebrated different aspects of love. On social media, there were the daily posts highlighting twenty eight different love stories that happened on SEPTA. And on ISEPTAPHILLY.COM, we asked you to submit what you love about your commute for a chance to win a March TrailPass. Over the course of the month, we received over 450 entries. All of the entries met the criteria of bring thoughtful and creative. Which meant we had to reach for our trusty hat and pull the winners - below are the lucky eleven:

Sara A. I recently switched from driving to riding regional rail and I love that this one part of my day has hardly any stress! As a working mom it’s hard to get a minute to myself so to be able to read, catch up on a podcast, or just rest my mind for an uninterrupted 20 minutes is such a blessing at the beginning and end of the day. This puts me in a much better position to tackle what’s ahead on my work plate in the morning, and in the evening I’m so much more refreshed to tackle parenting when I get home. In some ways I wish this commute was longer, but it certainly beats the 40 plus minutes I used to spend in traffic each way! Today is a glorious 65 degrees in Philadelphia, and I’m so happy to be taking an early train to get my daughter, and because of SEPTA we’ll still have some daylight left to hit the playground!

Starla R. I love that I am not hurting the planet with toxic emissions. I love that my commute is helping the next generation by leaving a lighter footprint on the Earth.

Judy P. Commuting is fun, Once I have begun. Especially before the sun, Tea in hand and honeybun. On to the station I come, Hello everyone! Train I can't outrun, Closing my eyes as it begun. Finish my sleep that wasn't done, SEPTA is second to none. I feel as if I've won. Commuting can be fun…

Zach S. I take my 3 year old to his preschool every morning via bus or subway. He is always commenting about what he sees around him, and I love how people around us smile and often engage him. We often have his little scooter with us, and he is so proud to show all our new friends his helmet, every single day. Without a kid, I’m anonymous on the subway, playing on my phone (not so bad in itself!). With my cheerful chatterbox, we have a million friends.

Barbara B. I drove to work in Center City Philadelphia for 25 years and was forced to stop when my garage closed and I no longer had parking. I decided to give SEPTA a try even though I thought I would dislike taking public transportation.  Much to my surprise I love taking the train to work. It is so nice to be able to relax and let someone else do the driving. No more worrying about driving in traffic and for once I can sit back and enjoy the scenery. I even got a portable radio to listen to in place of my car radio. I am definitely a SEPTA convert.

Gayle G. I love: watching the standstill traffic on the Schuylkill or Blue Route while riding the Norristown/Manayunk line; the convenience of not having to search for an open parking lot in the city; not having to pay for parking in the city; the Independence Family pass so my family and I can explore the entire city on multiple modes of transport. But most of all, I love the morning greetings as I exit through the turnstiles at Jefferson Station.

Jennifer C. I love my commute on SEPTA with my son because it’s his favorite thing.  He’s autistic and could say all the stations before typical words.  When we’re on the El, he smiles so much as he counts stations and continues to go through the list of remaining stations.

Lisa S. I love my commute because my now 11 year old son and I learn new things about our city by playing the game, 'I Spy (With My Little Eye)"! We have SO much fun noticing even the smallest things about our surroundings. It's also a way for us to spend some Mom and son time on days that can get quite hectic for the both of us!

Deja Y. What I love about my commute is that it is so peaceful. I’m currently a 2nd year commuter student at Penn State Abington and I travel over an hour every day to get up to school and attend class. I wake up at 5 every morning in order to get to my 6:48 train and it’s not only really stressful but hard to make myself get up that early. When I get on my train not only is it very clean every morning but the ride is so quiet and peaceful and I love looking out of the window and reflecting on the past day and wondering how the current day will go. I also always feel comfortable taking out my laptop and studying for exams or finishing up a paper. SEPTA Regional Rail is one of the most peaceful parts of my day.

Marina F. I love Mike Fuller, trolley operator extraordinaire, SEPTA poet of legend. His narration has brought me such deep joy at the end of some very rough days.

Gila A. I love that my commute gives me the opportunity to travel to work with my husband so we can enjoy each other's company and discuss the latest in our favorite podcasts. Our favorite part of the commute is not needing to sit in the traffic on 76!

And here are some others that we really liked!

Alisha A. What makes my ride worthwhile is knowing that I can get where I need to go. I have back and knee problems. Majority of bus drivers will lower the bus for me without asking. Anytime I have a question or need directions. SEPTA is there to help.

Brittney B. Growing up in Philadelphia and having the opportunity to travel throughout the city without my parents with me, oh was priceless! Lol, but seriously, I've always had to travel a long distance just to get to either school or work! And SEPTA made it easier for me to be able to do so. My parents weren't able to drive me around, so I had to learn, quickly, how to navigate around the city. Especially while traveling from North Philly to South Philly just for high school. While doing that, I've became more confident and more independent in my adult years where I will travel from Southwest Philly to Northeast for work, easily. Now, that's is what makes my ride worthwhile.

Mal S. Life is crazy in Philadelphia. There’s the weather, the sports, the people, the food, and everything else that makes us hate but love this glorious city. There’s never a repetitive day living here. However, there is one constant that makes Philly, Philly. It’s a quiet ride on the 33 Bus before getting off into the hustle and bustle that is Center City. It’s taking the BSL with dozens of other fans crammed into one car to support the best sports teams in America. It’s taking the trolley into Brewerytown to explore a neighborhood with a history and a future. It’s even an affordable option to get into the suburbs or shop at King of Prussia. I love Philly because I’m able to live without a car and although Lyft and Uber proliferate the city, I always find myself opting for SEPTA for giving me that luxury of being car-free. My commute from my apartment to my job in Center City via the BSL is only eleven minutes yet I still take the bus for double that time because I am able to sit and enjoy the views of this gritty yet charming city. It’s not the same experience from a car or by foot. To sit above and look at the people who share this home with you, it’s a humbling experience. Every day I ride my bus is every day I fall in love with Philly and I wouldn’t be able to do so without SEPTA. Thank you, SEPTA :)

Michael B. I am a college student and I commute from Philadelphia to Eastern University every day. I spend a large portion of my day on the train. It is a very long commute but is worthwhile because it allows me to save money on gas and I do not have to worry about parking my car! If I had to drive every day I would be extremely stressed out and tired! SEPTA is also very reliable! I have an extremely accurate SEPTA app on my phone and it keeps me up to date on my train! I also love my commute because it allows me to catch up on my studying. I can relax and study. The train is usually very quiet! I also love the SEPTA perks! Lastly, the reason why I love to ride SEPTA is because it allows me to meet new and interesting people. Sometimes I buy pretzels from the Philly Pretzel Factory and I pass them out to the homeless people. I also buy donuts and coffee from Dunkin Donuts and I give it out to the homeless people. I really enjoy helping people and giving back to the community.

Eva Marie S. I love that the 101 trolley is a 4 minute walk from my front door and takes me to the El where I can take my kids and a bunch of their friends into Center City, because otherwise they wouldn't all fit into my car. I love that we don't have to park the car. That we can get off at Dilworth Plaza and play in the fountains or get hot chocolate and watch the Christmas lights and that they can strike up a great game of freeze tag on the lawn with kids they've never met before. That we can walk down to Sister Cities Park and race rubber ducks and ping pong balls down the river and eat our packed lunch across from the Academy of Natural Sciences. That we can ride the El to 8th and market every Saturday and take the 47 or sometimes just walk through Washington Park to 8th and Catherine to go to the Fleischer Memorial for art classes. The kids love that they get to swipe their own key card and get to sit together and feel "grown-up" even though I'm close by. They too love all of this and they just love reading all the murals out loud to each other on the way to and from home along the El. We truly appreciate and love how SEPTA has enabled us to make great memories.

Erik F. There's a lot to love about my commute. I love how affordable it is. I love how environmentally friendly it is. And I love how it provides a cross-section of all walks of life: on a SEPTA ride you can rub shoulders with the best (and not-so-best) that Philly has to offer. As a lifelong commuter and resident who loves my city, we can travel several stories above West Philly on the El and through the Main Line on the NHSL. You can quickly tunnel below on the trains and trolleys, or see all of the sights as you ride through the traffic on the bus - but get this, you don't get the stress! You can rest, even close your eyes for a minute, and come off your SEPTA commute refreshed. What's not to love about that?

Nateria M. I have been SEPTA spoiled for years which is why I haven't transitioned to a car as of yet. Using SEPTA has been a big help to me and there's so many routes I still don't know about. I really do appreciate the use of the SEPTA app as well, to help with the ease of transfers from one stop to another. If it wasn't for SEPTA and my ability to take on day-to-day ventures for both work and play. I would only dream of going instead now I'm just gone.;*) Iđź’–SEPTA!!

Monica M. Every morning I get on my train, and have a nice conversation with my train conductor. I take the same train every morning, so I know him very well. When I sit down, I get a whole 30 minutes to either read a book, do some homework, or get a nice extra 30 minutes of study time before a big exam! Tuesdays are my favorite days though, because the only thing that is better than a caramel iced coffee... is a large one for only $1.50! I love SEPTA, and I love my morning commute!

Eddie R. The thing I appreciate about my commute is that I can check in on my mental wellbeing. The hustle and bustle of the world can be cumbersome and the idea of being able to take a moment to get mentally ready is great.

Felicia F. I usually go on SEPTA with my kids. My son that has autism usually points out everything he sees. I like riding Sept with my kids because we are talking on the way to where we are going. I also look to see if the area has changed. Sometimes I see new things in the area.

Simal A. One of my favorite things about commuting is those times I have the opportunity to have an engaging conversation with a total stranger. As a college student sometimes I find myself living life in a hurry whether it’s from one class to the next or from the city to my home. Those conversations often end up being an enlightening discourse that are so engaging we forget to even exchange names. I often think about how some of the best conversations may have never taken place had we not sat on the same seat by chance. I love the times a stranger becomes a friend!Jean M- It was May 1994 and my sister and I were doing our first Broad Street Run. We were a little nervous and a little excited. We parked at the Stadium area and along with about 5000 runners at 6am took the Broad Street Subway to the start of the race at Broad & Olney and it seemed every subway car was packed with runners. A cute guy standing next to us started talking and since he had done this race a number of times he was very encouraging, really nice and gave us a good pep talk. After the 25-30 minute ride we reached Broad & Olney, the subway doors opened, there was a mass exodus of runners and we never saw him again. Jump forward a year to May 1995, my sister and I are doing the Broad Street Run again, along with some other friends. The Broad Street Subway is packed with 5000-6000 runners, we aren’t able to get on one of the subway cars because it’s so crowded, we squish into another subway car, the doors close and we’re off to Broad & Olney. As we try to find our standing-room-only space on that subway car standing right beside me is the same cute, nice guy who we met the year before...what are the chances! We talk the entire ride, lose each other as we exit the subway but this time we see each other at the start of the race and again at the finish. We end up exchanging numbers, and the rest is history...we’ve been married 21 years (Mayor Ed Rendell married us!) ... and we still feel it was fate that we met in the midst of all those thousands of runners on the Broad Street Subway, not once, but twice, a year apart <3  ...and yes, one of us still tries to do the Broad Street Run every year!

Grant D. My favorite party of my commute on the El is the people watching and listening.  I get to sit back, relax, and just take in all the different conversations, the beautiful (and ok some not so beautiful) stories and conversations people have are almost enchanting.  With so many people from so many walks of life it's interesting to hear about someone else's day, someone else's plans for the night, what they are planning, what they are working toward.  Add to that the old timey feel of the sound and rhythm of the train and it's one heck of a commute.

Laura N. I love that my carbon footprint is smaller than a car commuter because I love the planet!

Barbara K. I take a crowded SEPTA suburban morning train with commuters who are headed to work in center city. They have a long day ahead of them. I feel strong and able to stand for the three stops on my way. Yet, time after time, some considerate passenger, no doubt upon seeing my gray hair and less-than-erect posture, offers to give me his/her seat. I try to avoid eye contact so no one will feel the urge to yield a position to me. Recently, a woman poked her nose-in-his-book companion’s arm and pointed to what she perceived as my “plight”; he immediately offered to get up. I said, with appreciation, “No, thanks ~ I’m getting off shortly,” followed by a person two rows ahead who called back, “It’s no use; she already refused me!” How thoughtful these riders are!

Viola B. What I love about my commute are the people you meet along the way. I have met some wonderful women on the subway who have become the Sista's of SEPTA.  We have our faith that joins us together - we share family stories, job stories, and at the end of our commute we go our separate ways until we see each other again - but it was the commute and a grave experience that brought us closer.  There was a young lady who passed out coming up the subway steps - I kind of knew her because she worked in the same building I worked in.  The Sista's of SEPTA stepped in, stayed with her, consoling and keeping her calm until help could arrive.  It was a tearful moment - but our faith and friendship helped this woman get thru this critical time (she spent 4 days in the hospital).  She has now become a part of our group.  We might not see each other every day but when we do - our spirits are very high and it starts our day on a positive vibe.   People talk about how bad the subway system is - the kids, the trash, the noise in general, but you know what I've met a lot of people and I wouldn't miss riding the train to work for anything.  Thanks SEPTA – you have brought people closer even though they live in various parts of the city.

Lauren P. I must say that commuting an hour on the train every morning into the city for my job, has provided me with some peace of mind in the mornings/nights. The hour of commuting to & from work has become a crucial time slot for myself to focus on things I might not otherwise be able to get to in the mornings/nights if I were to drive my car into work. I work in center city during the day, at a very fast pace job that requires me to always be on my toes. At night, I job work for an office cleaning company, which also keeps me on my feet all night. However, there is a moment in between those two jobs that helps to keep me re-energized & organized. That moment of serenity is my commute into & out of the city while riding on SEPTA regional rail. During my commute to & from my first job, I am able to catch up on some sleep after working at my late night shifts at my second job. The train ride also provides me some free time to catch up on a good book or catch up on some bill payments for the month. This small amount of time commuting is a HUGE lifesaver for me in my everyday life!

Rita B. I have been using SEPTA for about 12 years and think it just keeps getting better and better. The SEPTA Key Card, the friendly bus drivers, and all the places I go by train, trolley, or bus when I don't feel like driving has been a different adventure whether working or just leisure trips. I think SEPTA exceeds my expectations compared to other cities I have used public transportation domestic and international.

Michelle B. I especially love my SEPTA commute this time of year. No better way to have my mornings flow beautifully on the West Trenton line that sifts quietly through the snow covered trees and backyard fences, gushing the freshly snow coated rails, surrounding the train in a magical cloud of sparkles. The train slows a bit by the Amtrak junction, almost as if it is tip toeing gracefully past the dead residing in the Woodlands cemetery, only moments pass until the sun shines so brightly meandering alongside the reflective Schuylkill River. It’s a time for peaceful meditation, a refreshing awakening as the transition from sleep to work blossoms into a bouquet of chaos, willpower and endless moments of prosperous growth.

Jessica S. I love Dunkin’! I get it every morning at Jefferson before i get on the Paoli/Thorndale line! The conductors are super friendly on the R5 line! I enjoy sitting in the quiet car so I can listen to my tunes and relax before and after a long day of work!

Donna W.

S - Settling down on the train after a long work day.

E - Enjoying piece of mind from not having to drive

P - Partaking in the view of the city from the train window

T - Taking a nap if necessary

A - Awareness of events in the city through the electronic ads

This is what I love about my SEPTA commute!

Kimberly B. I began working at Jefferson Hospital as a substance abuse counselor in June 2018. This is my first job out of completing my master's and difficulty one at that. Each morning I begin my day riding the BSL and I mentally prepare myself for the work I am about to do. I chose not to listen to music or a podcast but instead people watch and observe. There are so many passionate and hardworking individuals in this city, going to work, just getting off work, going to school, taking their children to school... etc. My commute in the morning (and the afternoon) remind me of all of the people in Philadelphia and this motivates me to be the best social worker I can and continue to my passion each day no matter what happened the day before. Each morning commute teaches me that it’s a new day to change the world and help someone in need.

Thank you to everyone who submitted these great entries! Check out our contest page for your next chance to win a prize!

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