1 My Last Hundred Bucks: A Sad Little Saga of Straphangery | The Billfold

My Last Hundred Bucks: A Sad Little Saga of Straphangery

$100! It is a lot of money, and yet, it is also not a lot of money at all. What happened to your last hundo, Blair Thornburgh?

$34.50, Weekly TrailPass (Zone ) Because I now 1.) live in Philadelphia, 3.) work in Philadelphia but 3.) not the same parts of Philadelphia and 4.) I am not going to drive, even though I have a car that I love, because parking sucks.

$42.50, Ten-trip ticket booklet (Zone 2) Because this morning I 1.) took the train for the second time, 2.) left my TrailPass, which I had not yet emblazoned with my phone number, jauntily shoved into the ticketholder, and  3.) had no means of recourse because Philadelphia is not yet modern enough in its transit system to enable you to get a refund for a lost pass bought by credit card, even if you see the same ticket lady as you did the first time and make sad eyes. Yes, 4.), I felt really, really stupid

$25, Zipcar membership I forgot I have Apparently they bill every January! Though I don’t even need it anymore since at this point I am VERY WELL TAKEN CARE OF in terms of methods to get around my hometown, because 1.) screw it.


Blair Thornburgh gets around.


6 Comments / Post A Comment

Faintly Macabre (#1,043)

Oh, SEPTA. My friend had his monthly trailpass (so around $125) stolen the morning he bought it, before the conductor had even come by. Not only did he have to later buy a new trailpass, the conductor made him buy a ticket.

Protip: keep your pass handy (in the book you’re reading or your pocket, for example) but not in the holder! It’s way too easy to have it stolen or forget it, and then you are screwed. I only had a pass for one summer, but I never had a conductor get pissed off or saw them yell at anyone else for doing that. (Not that they’d be at all justified in doing so!)

lizard (#2,615)

@Faintly Macabre same with nj transit. whenever i get my seat and shove the ticket into the holder i def keep an eye on it. there are so many walking by to get a seat it would be easy to just snatch someones ticket. plus all the homeless that get on and ask for money before it pulls out

reluctant (#3,122)

I’m finally registering so I can share this bit of knowledge/experience: if you write to Zipcar and tell them that you didn’t get any warning that your subscription would renew (no renewal email, whatever) and that you meant to cancel it before that happened, they’ll refund the yearly cost.

Jeni Vidi Vici (#1,121)

@reluctant Yes! I have done this.

blair (#1,962)

@reluctant Yup. I actually did this a few days later, because I was like no, nevermind. And they were so friendly about it!

szajic (#1,811)

The lost SEPTA pass disaster! Welcome to Philadelphia. This has happened to me twice in my last few years of commuting by regional rail, and those losses sting way out of proportion to the amount of money involved. The indignity of immediately having to buy more tickets doesn’t help. There are months in which buying a monthly pass would save me a little money, but I don’t do it, because if I lost a monthly pass in the first week of the month I think I’d throw myself off the train.

P.S. Don’t think that writing your number on the back of the pass helps much. Also, have you tried? The back of the passes won’t take a ballpoint pen, and there isn’t room for a Sharpie.

P.S. More usefully, if you immediately call the lost and found department and tell them the train number and route you lost the pass on, there is some hope of recovery. I know at least one person who had this work, though it never has for me.

P.S. Today I bought a 5-pack of tokens* at the ticket window at Market East, and one of them was a nickel, not a token. Luckily, I noticed before walking away, and the clerk gave me a new pack. But, come on, SEPTA.

* Note to the rest of the world: yes, amazingly, Philadelphia still uses tokens for the subway and buses, even though Metrocard-type technology has been widely available for OVER TWO DECADES. I don’t know why. The only good thing about tokens is that unlike Metrocards, they don’t turn into litter, but then the tokens themselves come in these little plastic bags, which do, so I think it’s a wash on that point. And every single other point (with the possible exception of quaintness) is in favor of cards.

P.S. Seriously, welcome to Philadelphia.

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