SEPTA decided to close Market East Station at 7 PM tonight for "police activity". This stranded myself and several thousand commuters both in the city, and in trains on their way to the city. Market East was completely evacuated. At the time I spoke to a SEPTA employee at Suburban Station around 8 PM, he stated that they were waiting on the "all clear" from the police before they could re-open the station.
Despite what the employee told me in the customer service office, he was almost immediately contradicted by a female employee there who stated that it was a "bomb scare" to another passenger.
These were not real times for the trains, but rather estimates on when SEPTA thought they would reopen the station.
A crowd of commuters gather at the closed station. SEPTA really dropped the ball here. They had NO signage or personal on hand. There were a few police officers inside of the station that were completely unhelpful in answering queries from stranded passengers. No announcements were made over the PA at Market East nor Suburban Station. Basically, we were left in the dark as to why the station was closed.
A crowd gathers inside of the customer service office.
I eventually got home with the help of a subway, light rail, and a 1.5 mile walk across town.
Just to underscore my comments above, I'm no security expert--there may have been a very good reason for closing down Market East. SEPTA themselves may have not even had a say in the matter, they might have just been told to close the station by police. What SEPTA could
control is how they reacted to this crisis. They could
have made announcements. They could
have made signs. They could
have put notices on the train status boards. And they could
have drawn up some emergency action plan in advance, that provided alternate subway/rail/bus paths for passengers to take to their destination.
Did I mention I'm paying $116/month for this? You're doing a heck of a job, SEPTA.