Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is Uber an answer to regional rail woes?

Welcome to Day Three of your Summer of Discontent, regional rail riders.

There may be some relief on the way for riders dealing with long delays, crowded trains, or filled trains that simply blow by them after they quickly filled to capacity.

Commuters looking for an option to regional rails, but who don't necessarily want to test their nerves driving in on the Schuylkill or I-95 will get some welcome news later today, when the Philadelphia Parking Authority and Uber are expected to announce a deal to allow the ride-sharing app to operate in the city.

Riders already have been able to take advantage of discount rides to get to several transit hubs in the suburbs. You could take Uber to get you to the 69th Street Terminal, then jump on the Market-Frankford El to get downtown.

But the fact is that for most suburban commuters, they will likely continue to deal with the Great Regional Rail Reduction of 2016 on a daily basis.

As expected with more and more people returning to work after the holiday weekend, things got progressively worse yesterday, with longer delays being reported and even more crowded train cars.

One thing we expected quickly came to fruition. We call it the "parade effect."

That's what happens, similar to what occurred back when the Phillies hailed their World Series championship with a downtown parade, when riders pack rail cars at the outlying stops. Then, once the trains reach capacity, then convert to express mode, blowing past many stations where harried commuters were forced to simply wait for the next available train.

That happened fairly early yesterday on the Wilmington line, where officials said train cars were packed at Marcus Hook, only the third stop on the line, and then "expressed" into the city.

Not helping things all that much is Mother Nature, providing stifling heat and humidity as the frustration among commuters heats up as well.

For a full review of what took place yesterday on the regional rails, click here.

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