Frequently Asked Questions

So what exactly is this site?

This site takes data on Regional Rail trains from SEPTA's API, and turns it into a dashboard that provides an easy way to view the status of the entire Regional Rail system.

If you're not from the Philly area, SEPTA stands for "Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority" and it is the public transit system that serves Philadelphia and the outlying suburbs.

Who created it?

Me, Douglas Muth. I live in Ardmore and take the Regional Rail in to Center City for work each day.

What technology did you use to create it?

I used node.js with the ExpressJS webserver and the Jade template engine and deployed the whole thing on Heroku. Node let me do some cool things such as asynchronously fetching data from SEPTA's API in the same process, without having to use crontabs. Or a even database for that matter.

If you're curious, my source code can be downloaded from here.

Are there any other sites like this out there?

Yep! There's, which inspired me to make this site, along with, which gave me a few additional ideas and things to think about. If you live in New York City or Washington, D.C. you may want to take a look at those sites.

If you live in New Jersey, you may want to check out New Brunswick Buses or NJ Transhit.

As of 2016, there is also the sister site to this one:

Don't think you think "fucked" is a strong word?

It seems appropriate when many trains are running 30 minutes late and all you want to do is get home so you can watch the latest episode of Rick and Morty.

Have you tried complaining to SEPTA before?

I used to have a blurb here about how awful SEPTA was at customer communications and addressing problems, but that's so 2011.

But then SEPTA has started to drink the social media Kool-Aid, and it's paid off. Exhibit A is the SEPTA_Social Twitter account. They monitor Twitter for complaints about SEPTA and respond to them in a timely manner, and sometimes with a sense of humor. I believe that their Twitter feed alone has changed public opion about SEPTA substantially. Good form!

Further reading:

This FAQ sure is shorter thanks to @SEPTA_Social!

Have you built anything else?

Yep! I've built a few things you may find interesting:

How can I get in touch with you?

I can be found on Twitter as well as Facebook. I also run my own website. Feel free to say hello!