Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers questions about sloppy signatures, QuietRide hours and open rail cars

Ask SEPTA: GM Joe Casey answers questions about sloppy signatures, QuietRide
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Every three weeks, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey addresses reader-submitted questions about the city’s public transit system. This week, Casey answers reader’s questions about sloppy signatures, QuietRide hours and open rail cars.

Question: I would like to ask Septa if they plan to ever change the signature part of the trail/rail passes. It is impossible to find a pen that works on it, and marker just smudges off. Would it be possible to add a patch that is similar to the back of a credit card, where a normal pen works. I know it is a silly annoyance, but I would be crushed if I lost my very expensive trailpass, and was unable to get it returned to me due to the name and phone number being impossible to read. —- Mica

Joe Casey: Current weekly and monthly passes are treated with a strengthening glaze to increase the durability of the pass. The glaze is not applied over the signature area in order to allow signature and telephone numbers to be written. Under normal conditions, standard ballpoint pens work fairly well but pens using water-based ink will tend not to adhere to the surface and smudge if they do. Beginning in February, SEPTA is under a new contract with the printing vendor that produces the passes. We are working closely with them to improve the ability to sign and add a telephone number to the back of the pass.

Question: On several occasions, when I take the Trenton Regional Rail earlier than normal (2:30 p.m. on) I see the QuietRide rule not enforced. When I ask the conductor in the first car about it he/she says, “Not this early.” I’ve never seen a time restraint posted. Is this true, or is the conductor uncomfortable about enforcing your policy? —-Pasquale Vallese

Joe Casey: The QuietRide car is available on all weekday trains (Monday through Friday) between the hours of 4 a.m. and 7 p.m. QuietRide trains must have three or more cars open for passenger service. For example, if a train consists of four cars, but only two are being used for service, the QuietRide car is not in effect on that train. Keep in mind that when the QuietRide car is in effect, only the first car of the train is designated as the QuietRide car. I hope this answers your questions concerning the QuietRide rules.

Question: For months I have taken weekend regional rail trains so packed that children and adults were forced to stand in the aisle, but no one was allowed to sit in in the empty rear car. This makes no sense and impacts negatively on SEPTA’s customer service. Please explain why and how the problem can be resolved. — Mike Thomas, South Philly

Joe Casey: Thank you for being a regular weekend Regional Rail customer. I agree that it makes no sense to force riders to stand when there are empty cars available. Each conductor has the authority to determine whether or not to open an additional car on a train. To make that determination the conductor considers several factors such as the number of passengers on the train and the number of cars relative to the number of crew members. Should you experience this situation again please contact the SEPTA’s Customer Service Department at 215-580-7800 or complete a Customer Comment Form at and provide us with the date, time and train number you were riding.

What would you Ask SEPTA? Email your questions to Metro Reporter Tommy Rowan at