I reported this to SEPTA, so it isn’t an issue anymore, but the station page for the Girard Broad Street Line station showed a map of the Girard Market Frankford Line station! See, this is why you don’t give your stations the same name, because stuff like this happens! Once this post is done, though, I’ll have reviewed every SEPTA station called Girard. What a milestone.
Girard is one of the most well-served stations on the Broad Street Line, since all three service patterns stop here: locals, expresses, and the Broad-Ridge Spur. This is the southernmost station where everything’s on the same main line, too, so you end up with a few odd, not-publicized connection opportunities. On weekdays, many northbound locals meet up with northbound expresses, while on Saturdays, every Broad-Ridge Spur train is supposed to meet with a local (delays notwithstanding, of course).
But other than the timed meetups here, the platform at Girard is standard BSL express stop fare. While the tracks are full of gunk and the paint on the walls and ceilings is chipping away, the platform itself is pretty clean, with some appealing tilework on the pillars and plenty of places to sit or throw out your trash (although clearly some people still prefer to use the tracks). The staircases have some neat artwork to give a bit of a unique flavor to the station, though.
Girard has two mezzanines, but the one on the south side of the intersection is only open from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, weekdays only (at all other times, it’s exit-only)! I mean, according to the faint older sign, it was at one point only open from noon to 4:30, so I guess it’s improved since then? The current hours are still bad, though – at least it’s only a matter of crossing the street to get to the other entrance, but people still manage to fare evade here anyway by wrestling open the emergency door (admittedly small sample size: two people I saw while I was here). Clearly it’s gonna happen whether you keep the entrance open or not, so why not just keep it open?
The other mezzanine is where the elevators go, but annoyingly, they drop you off slightly below ground level, so elevator users have to ascend a few steps or a ramp once they get up here. Again, the classic SEPTA hallmarks are here: a few benches to wait at just inside fare control, a too-small number of faregates and fare machines, and some outdated AT&T signage. The ramps to the elevators have some more of that cool staircase art, though!
One elevator and two sets of stairs lead to street level. Aside from one entrance to the bad mezzanine that’s just a staircase in the ground (which frankly makes sense – they shouldn’t be advertising that thing given its opening hours), Girard’s entrances have a nice aesthetic to them. It’s not unique to this station, but I still like the way the shelters feel like they’re bursting out of the ground.
The connections here include the 4 and 16, because of course they do, but these subway-paralleling routes actually get shelters in both directions! There’s also a connection to the 15, which in the westbound direction gets a proper median stop, while in the eastbound direction it’s just a standard roadside stop…with no shelter. C’mon, the 4 and 16 get one, but not the far busier 15? Boo! Not that the median stop is any better when it comes to putting a roof over people’s heads, of course.
Station: Girard (BSL)
Ridership: This is one of three stations on the Broad Street Line that gets the max number of trips every day (596!), but it’s by far the least-used of the three. Just over 4,000 riders per day is decent enough ridership, although once you factor in how many trips a day it gets, it averages out to under 7 boardings per train. I guess local-to-express transfers might throw in a few extra riders here, but generally this is not a super busy stop.
Pros: Aside from your standard pros, like a decently clean platform, nice entrances, and wheelchair accessibility, Girard stands out with its neat staircase art.
Cons: The entrance on the south side of the station being closed evenings and weekends is the big one for me, especially when people still seem to fare evade in there anyway – presumably that’s the reason they keep it closed, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much, so I say just leave it open sans cashier. Other problems are smaller, like the dirty tracks, the sunken elevators, and the lack of a shelter for the westbound 15. Also, it would probably make more sense for this to be a local-only stop and for Cecil B. Moore to get express service, but we’re long past the point where that kind of infrastructural change can be made…
Nearby and Noteworthy: Lots of fast food chains surround this one intersection: take your pick from McDonald’s, Checkers, or KFC! Or if you’re looking for a real place to go, this is the closest stop to The Met Philadelphia.
Final Verdict: 6/10
For all intents and purposes, this is a fine station. It’s accessible, it gets a ton of service, and it’s in a sensible location – what more could you want? Aside from that entrance being open more, the elevators being raised a little bit, and the express stops making more sense, that is. 6/10 seems about right.
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