Widespread SEPTA Hack Actually The Most Truthful Corporate Messaging Since “We’re Getting There”

septahackFor weeks now, we’ve been hearing tell of a very well-executed signage prank, laid all over, deep within the byways of SEPTA that, once and for all, aiming to tell the truth about what is perhaps the nation’s most inefficient (and certainly the most surly) public transit system. This weekend, a reader finally got a clear shot of the sign, which is most likely still currently hiding in plain sight on an El car near you. It reads:

SEPTA
Notice to the Public

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is committed to providing non-discriminatory transportation services to all of its passengers, including schizophrenics, drug addicts, Irish Catholics, hipsters, homos, prostitutes, gentrifying transplants, raging maniacs, tourists, obnoxious Penn students, corner boys, pimps, drunk rich kids who still think Old City is cool, and terrified suburbanites who tremble with unease at the sight of everyone.

Any person who is or seeks to be a patron of any SEPTA public vehicle shall be entitled to the same depressing experience of loud cell phones, obese people eating McDonalds, parents telling their toddlers to “Shut the Fuck Up!,” and a constant inch-deep layer of urine-soaked trash and debris.

No person or group of persons shall be discriminated against on any grounds with regard to routing, scheduling, or quality of transportation service furnished by SEPTA, with the following exceptions — race, color, socioeconomic status, and proximity to the suburbs.

Any person who has experienced a cleaner, more efficient, more extensive and better managed public transportation system in the U.S. (e.g. most if not all) can feel free to notify SEPTA about potential improvements, which shall promptly be ignored.

It’s not just funny ‘cos it’s true. It’s true because it’s true. And there’s so much there to chew on. If anyone knows who’s behind this truly inspired and fucking fantastic prank, please get at us — we’d love to interview you. Anonymity will be guaranteed. We might also try to make out with you.

Click on image to enlarge.

  • kevinderrick
  • Ryan Vernon

    this is awesome.

  • hallpass

    Was this designed by John Rocker?

    Honestly, I don’t get the SEPTA freakshow point of view.

    I ride the R3 and the MFSE mostly, and I’ve never been of the impression that the clientele is anything other than normal people of ALL races and socio-economic statuses going to work and school. Maybe the El is a little more colorful in terms of diversity and characters. I think the drunks pop up from time to time wherever you are. That’s the same from London to Tokyo. Furthermore, the transit system in Philly is no dirtier than those I’ve seen in New York, London and Madrid.

    The execution of this signage hack is slick; the content is offensive, frankly.

  • barryg

    Ugh, I’m so sick of the SEPTA hate. What cities in the US have better or more extensive public trans than Philly? New York, Boston, Chicago, maybe DC, maybe San Fran. I can’t think of any other cities where I could live without a car.

    Sure, that means SEPTA has a lot of room for improvement. But SEPTA is quite functional and covers the entire city rather well, and the Regional Rail has extensive range. This is not true of most cities in the US. Yeah, I wish we had more subways/light rail, too, but the buses go everywhere.

    The SEPTA bashing is typical Philly self-hatred and pessimism. Like the fools who bash McNabb all the time.

    That sign is funny, though.

  • amc4232

    Yeah, barryg has it right about the Septa haters (though it is a great prank). We’ve got work to do compared to a very small number of cities in this country with excellent transit. But you know where you’re lucky you don’t live? Any western American city except for SF (which I remind you is about a third the size of Philly). Most cities in this country are virtually uninhabitable unless you like sitting in endless traffic and not having any culture. Places like Denver and Phoenix are trying to figure out ways to spend billions of dollars to build systems that may be new and shiny but still won’t be able to hold a candle to the kind of coverage Septa has. Sad but true.
    Also, the line about parents telling their toddlers to “shut the fuck up” made me laugh out loud.

  • thrip jackson

    i used to recoil at the site of a parent telling his/her toddler to “shut the fuck up”. however, now that i have a toddler, i confess that those words are often dangerously close to coming out of my mouth. loudly.

    funny sign, that.

  • Tulip OHare

    Ok, so, some of you like riding in an inch of urine-soaked debris. Some of us don’t. That doesn’t make us wrong.

  • http://mrthursday.com TC

    barryg- In addition to the cities mentioned, Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA are possessed of good transit. The problem with Philly, I think, is that unlike Phoenix and LA, the city is too cramped to drive in most areas. Unlike Portland and a few other cities, it’s too large for easy walking/biking to most areas. And then, as with pedestrian and auto traveling, SEPTA fails to cover adequately all areas. Since the No-car and No-walk problems are fundamental, there is no easy target to complain about. SEPTA is here and visible, though. It’s easy to imagine how the city could improve its public transit. It’s not easy to imagine more bike lanes with less broken glass in them, more on-street parking, etc.

  • local lover

    Some of the people here admittedly ride the Regional Rail. Good for you. Try riding the Market-Frankford El everyday. You will then be able to understand. Until you are riding the el home after a long day at work and have a teenage mom with her three kids eating their chips and spilling their juice, or the homeless dude who smells like piss, or the five HS kids who think its funny to keep the doors from closing (thus taking twice as long to get home), or the baby daddy arguing with his baby mama on his cell phone, or the fat lady who doesn’t realize she is too fat to be wearing those tight clothes with her ass/thong hangin out- all right in front of your face- then shut the hell up and keep riding your precious regional rail back to the suburbs. This SEPTA Hack is A GOD and a legend. For all of us REAL SEPTA Riders, print this out and keep it with you on your long ride home. It will at least make you laugh that someone realizes the HUMOR of PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!

  • barryg

    local lover,

    The first paragraph of the sign is equal opportunity to be sure. I take offense at the final paragraph:
    “Any person who has experienced a cleaner, more efficient, more extensive and better managed public transportation system in the U.S. (e.g. most if not all) can feel free to notify SEPTA about potential improvements, which shall promptly be ignored.”

    First, because it’s untrue, but mostly because this kind of attitude (like the SEPTA FAIL blog) is counter-productive. We all know SEPTA is still “getting there” and could use some encouragement, not snark.

    For the record, I ride the subways and buses, not the Regional Rail.

  • attilab

    “the truth about what is perhaps the nation’s most inefficient (and certainly the most surly) public transit system”
    …was that meant as a joke or have you never been outside Philly/your just assuming? You need to check out other cities in the US ..you’ll find the opposite. Sure sometimes SEPTA unites can be dirty but that’s any unite that gets a lot of use.
    Without SEPTA this city couldn’t function.

  • http://www.phillygrrl.com phillygrrl

    How did I miss this? Hilarious.

  • capmikee

    Generally, I don’t like SEPTA-bashing but I think part of the point of this sign is about the inequity between SEPTA’s suburban service and the Philly service. So if you ride the R3 and the El you’ll see a much cleaner and more efficient SEPTA.

    There has been a plan for years to build a Roosevelt Boulevard subway, but it is always pushed aside in favor of Regional Rail extensions. SEPTA is not apathetic about Philadelphia, but their hands are tied – even though Philadelphians make the most use and provide most of SEPTA’s sales revenue, there are only 2 Philly reps on the 15-member Board of Directors.

    But I love SEPTA and much prefer it to New York’s overrated metro.

  • 2ndClassCitizen

    Unlike most of the one-horse suburbs where 99.9% of Americans live, we should be thankful Philadelphia HAS a public transportation system. SEPTA is integral to the success of this region.

    A friend cleans SEPTA vehicles with high-pressure hoses and steam. It ain’t pretty, but it has to be done.

    Put too many people into a closed space with inadequate facilities….Voila!

    Does anyone remember what happened at The Superdome?

    Ah yes, who can forget the eye candy and sweet smells of New York’s subway system….SO much better than ours (sarcasm).

    And really, what other city on the East Coast even comes close to Center City Philly’s convenience and central location?