Andrew Knight is familiar with traveling by way of SEPTA on the surface, but he wants to know more about what’s going on behind the curtain. The Pennsylvania native is no stranger to getting around Philadelphia. I had the chance to sit with Andrew to discuss his use of the SEPTA system, his feelings towards it’s reliability, and what he hopes to dig up on the company during his investigating.
- You are doing your beat on the SEPTA Company. Do you take SEPTA often?
Andrew Knight: “Yes, I take SEPTA mainly for school. I commute from my house, which is right outside of southwest Philadelphia. It’s about a 30-minute train ride. And I used to take the bus before I had a car, so I’m familiar with how they operate.”
- So, you don’t really use SEPTA for anything besides getting to school?
AK: “I used to take SEPTA all the time to get to my old job. I would take the bus there, and I would also take the trolley to go and see my old girlfriend who was away at school. Sometimes I take the train on weekends when I’m going out to a bar, or something. It’s cheaper and safer than driving or paying for an Uber.”
- You said that you just recently got a car. Now that you own a car, what are some advantages that SEPTA offers to car owners?
AK: “I did just get a car recently, and it’s great. Well, SEPTA can take you directly into the city area, which is easy and convenient because you don’t have to deal with road rage, it’s much faster, and it takes you directly from A to B. But obviously, having a car is way better.”
- In your future, would you like to live in a large city where public transportation is often used as a primary travel method, or would you rather live in the suburbs and stick to owning a car?
AK: “I definitely hope to still own a car. As far as where I live, I grew up in the suburbs and I really like it there, but I love the city, so I cant give you a straight answer. They both have their advantages, so I could see myself living in either. I could see myself living anywhere but the countryside.”
- Why did you choose to cover SEPTA?
AK: “I didn’t have too many ideas honestly, and I take SEPTA a lot, so I thought it would be a manageable beat. I already have sort of a bias towards SEPTA, because I feel that they’re unreliable. So I’d like to see why they’re unreliable and get my own answers because they never really put out any interesting stories.”
- So then, you think that the SEPTA network is unreliable?
AK: “I definitely don’t think so. The trains are always late. When the weather is bad, even when it’s just colder than usual, the trains are at least five minutes late. However, I find that the busses are pretty reliable. It’s more of a time management issue. But SEPTA is also safe, so that’s another advantage that they offer. There are a bunch of pros and cons to taking SEPTA.”
- Do you use the SEPTA mobile app?
AK: “I do use the app, mainly to look at train schedules when going to school. It’s very useful. I’ve had problems with it giving inaccurate information, but its always changing and updating times throughout the day, so it’s very useful.”
- Have you ever traveled anywhere for vacation by means of SEPTA?
AK: “I’ve never traveled anywhere far with SEPTA, but I probably would. Hell, if they’re planning on making a “super train,” or something that can go from Philly to New York for ten bucks, that’s a lot better than driving. It would actually be cool to travel anywhere for a day trip and save the money on gas and the mileage on my car.”
- Would you say that you rely on SEPTA?
AK: “I definitely rely on SEPTA. My life would be hell without it, because I’d have to drive to school and travel across the entire city area of Philadelphia. I’d have to drive everywhere for everything, and I’d rather not have to do that. So I’d say I need SEPTA in my life.”
- Do you think that other counties in the tri-state area have systems similar to SEPTA?
AK: “I think that’s a great idea. People from further outside of the city, even Delaware or South Jersey, would be able to get to work. If they could even connect other regions to Philly, it could cut down the duration of their drives from 45-minute to get to the city, to five minutes to get to the train station. So I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want a system like SEPTA in their region.”