Monday, October 06, 2014


When I moved close to the Jenkintown train station I rode the train almost daily to Warminster for work.  It was (if I recall) $68 for a monthly (2-zone) pass.  Over the years, my travel increased a bit, that pass price kept going up and I started buying only in months I knew I was commuting to work for the whole of.  Now that pass doesn't exist and I would need to buy the $109 cross county.

I now ride SEPTA to/from the airport and occasionally to/from the city but otherwise not at all.  If the pass had been kept at the (already too-high) $75 level, I would still get a pass for months I wasn't travelling otherwise (e.g. I would have gotten one this month).  If that $75 was for the cross county I would consider buying it every month (except maybe Dec) regardless of whether or not I was travelling.  So SEPTA could be getting $600-800 a year from me, a single counter-flow rider whose ticket purchases are pure profit for you and who doesn't crowd out others (i.e. not riding peak to/from city), but instead you get $0 because your pricing for tickets is too high for non-center city commuters (especially considering your much worse scheduling for us).

SEPTA really should realize this: There is far more space on the counter-flow trains so extra commuters are pure gravy.  But it is cheaper than $75/month and MUCH more convenient for me--and for most suburban workers--to drive to work, so people with cars [who are not going to the city for work] currently have no good reason to ride SEPTA because the prices are just too damned high.

If I were in charge of their pricing I would try making the cross county pass $60/month, would market it to weekend city riders as well as suburban commuters, give it a year and see what happens.  I would buy that every month even though I wouldn't always be riding.

Commuters to the city have to deal with crappy traffic and paying for parking in the city: I don't.  I like the train because 1. the walking at both ends does me good and 2. reading on my commute is much easier.  When I drive, however, I can stop off at Costco, my Co-op, the beer store, or Target on my way home, so even months that I mostly take the train, I will likely want to drive occasionally.  If the pass price is so high that I can only justify it by riding every day...I won't buy it.

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