SEPTA! Stop opening up new Regional Rail platforms! Let me get through my backlog without having to schlep up to random stations every couple of days! And you picked a real good place for me this time: Levittown. One of the first master-planned suburbs, and one with a pretty nasty history, this is now one of the most boring places ever. I spent about fifteen minutes at the station before hopping on the first train home.
The inbound and outbound platforms are pretty similar. Of course, we’ve got brand-spanking new high-level platforms, and they’re awesome. Most of it is sheltered, and beneath that shelter, you’ve got benches, wastebaskets, departure screens, and Key readers – all the good stuff. Only the inbound side has a posted timetable, unfortunately, and while I don’t know for sure, I could see there being more outbound ridership from here than at your usual Regional Rail station. You could commute from here to Trenton or even New York.
The inbound side does have an ace-in-the-hole, though: we’ve got a building! And what’s more, this seems to be a Secane situation where the building is open all the time. There’s a ton of seating inside this temperature-controlled room, plus a schedule, a departure screen, some water fountains, a few history placards (including a big rock in a glass case whose significance I didn’t have enough time to find out), and a bathroom (spotless, but smelly when I went in).
Ramps lead to a wide sidewalk between the inbound platform and the parking lot. You can also access part of the lot via a piece of low-level platform that they kept for some reason (better than the outbound side, where the low platform doesn’t even lead anywhere). There are 382 spaces here according to SEPTA, but this article claims that it has over 400. At any rate, some signs say it’s a dollar a day, but the website claims it’s free, as does a handwritten sign that said “Parking is FREE until further notice. I have no other information.” My guess is that with the parking lot improvements (it was much smaller before the renovation), they’re going to eventually start charging, which isn’t a huge deal. It’s a dollar a day, come on.
The building doesn’t have a ticket office, so much like Secane, SEPTA set up a little trailer for morning rush ticket sales – it’s open from 5:30 to 11:00 AM on weekdays only. There are parking pay machines along the building, then it turns into a sheltered drop-off area with benches to wait for pick-ups. The 127 and 128 (both insanely long and twisty bus routes) deviate into the station, so they get a bus stop in this area. Bike racks are dotted all along here, and SEPTA’s website gets this one wrong hilariously: “0 bike racks are available, accommodating a total of 8 bicycles.” More than 8 bicycles can park here, and, uh, there are definitely more than 0 racks!
How does one cross to the other side of the station, though? Why, you must use the footbridge! You can either take the elevators (although the outbound one was still being worked on, at least when I was here), which are glass and very nice, or you can use the stairs. Now, these stairs do have a small vertical increase like at Paoli, but the horizontal distance between each step is much smaller, making them so much more usable!
The exit from the outbound platform has a similar layout to the inbound side, but just smaller. A sidewalk runs alongside the platform, with a few bike racks and parking payment machines next to the stairs and ramp to the platform. There’s a tiny parking lot on this side, as well as a separate still-in-progress exit to industrial Oxford Ave.
Ridership: Levittown is definitely up there in ridership, with 567 boardings and 644 alightings per day (no, I have no idea why the alightings are so much higher). Being an almost purely residential town, I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of ridership is people commuting into Philly (or other places) for work.
Pros: Well gosh, they just did a really good job here! The high-level platform is fantastic, with all the amenities one would expect. The station has about as much parking as can fit around it, while good drop-off facilities, a busway, and plenty of bike racks provide an alternate way to get in. And of course, the building is wonderful, and I love this new approach SEPTA has been taking by keeping them open all the time, with a separate ticket building for the morning rush. Plus, Levittown is actually an important station because it’s legitimately far from its neighbors!
Cons: Honestly…the only substantial thing is just a few rough signs. And they’re not even that bad – one has a misleading arrow, another awkwardly points to multiple “BIKE RACK,” and another lists “INBOUND AND OUTBOUND TRAINS” when it’s only pointing toward inbound trains. But for SEPTA standards, I’ve seen much worse…
Nearby and Noteworthy: Well, for what it’s worth, the station is well-located right next to “Levittown Town Center.” Which is a strip mall. Yay.
Final Verdict: 10/10
Levittown gets a 10? Levittown gets a 10? Levittown. Gets. A. 10. Levittowngetsa10.
I hate myself.
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