Blog

January 10, 2019

Transit Thursday’s

Featuring: Adventures in Busing - SEPTA’s 94 Route Montgomery Mall to Chestnut Hill

Since I started working for the PTMA, I have been on a mission to travel on the many bus routes that we have throughout our county.  Before I was aware of the importance of utilizing public transportation, I drove my car everywhere.  It never occurred to me that there would be a cheaper, easier and better way to travel.  Chestnut Hill is a quaint town, with little shops, restaurants and my personal favorite - cobblestone streets! 

The Route 94 bus leaves from the Montgomery Mall, with stops at the train stations in Pennbrook Pennlyn, Ft. Washington and Ambler.  To go the entire route to the Chestnut Hill Loop it takes about 48 minutes.  In comparison, the drive is about a 25 minute one.  So it does add on some extra time to your commute, but I arrived feeling relaxed after not having to deal with traffic and directions.  I just hopped on the bus at the Mall, scanned my Key Card and took my seat.  The bus was empty when I got on, and the first thing I noticed was how warm it was!  It was probably about 30 degrees outside and it was damp.  The bus was comfortably warm, so much so that I took my winter coat off after about 5 minutes.

The nice part of the route is that it stops at so many Regional Rail Stations. It also passes by Merck, a huge employer in our area.  Then it stops at the Montgomery County Community College, which is a benefit for the students.  Schedules run all day long, starting from 6:00 in the morning and going through to about 10:00 at night.   I was able to use my phone to do some more research into the stores and places to eat where I was heading, which I would not have been able to do (safely) in my car.

I got off the bus right at the corner of Bethlehem Pike and Germantown Ave. I walked across the street and headed down Germantown Ave and stopped in a couple of stores.  The small town feel made it seem new and exciting.  Chestnut Hill is home to more than 100 unique shops and businesses, most of them in convenient storefronts clustered on Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike. Antiques, gifts and clothes, banks and spas, two yarn stores, two cigar stores, two independent toy stores, an old fashioned candy store, a neighborhood co-op grocery, a farmers’ market, are among the shops you will find.  As for dining, between French, Thai, Chinese, Italian and American options, I obviously have to go there more often.  I settled on Cake, a sun-filled restaurant in a former greenhouse, which features everything from a poached salmon BLT to sirloin burgers and a mushroom flatbread. 

When I told my mom about my latest blogging adventure, she wanted IN.  So she met me at the restaurant and we had butternut squash soup, a crab cake salad (her) and a ham and swiss croissant (me).  The croissants are made in house and was buttery and soft and delicious.  Considering the place is called Cake, we felt like it was important that we order dessert.  You know, for the blog.  We share a chocolate almond butter crunch tarte and a coconut cream cupcake.  To die for.  Almost literally.  The ambience was delightful, albeit a little cold sitting next to the large windows that encase the seating area.

I would definitely recommend taking the 94 bus from Montgomery Mall to Chestnut Hill.  I did some calculations and I saved a little bit in gas, and I also saved some wear and tear on my vehicle.  And even though it took about 15-20 minutes more to get there than it would have if I have driven (depending on traffic), the ride allowed me to do some work, relax a bit, and not have to think about much besides what I was going to eat when I got there!  I plan on going again, so if you have any Chestnut Hill restaurant recommendations, please let me know!  Or, if my blog inspires you to check out the Route 94 Bus, I want to hear about that too!  

 

 

 

 

By: Tiffany Marrero (and that's my Mom!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 27, 2018

Transit Thursday’s

Featuring: SEPTA Pub Crawl

Everyone is so busy this time of year.  With the major holiday’s behind us, a lot of you may be looking forward to December 31, where you can just let loose and have some fun.  One thing that can be challenging is going from one place to another after you have already had a few drinks.  A safe alternative to this would be to use public transportation while going to and from different bars and breweries.  We thought we would let you know about a couple of local places that are within walking distance of SEPTA train stations.

If you are coming from the Doylestown, Colmar or New Britain area, you can easily take the train into Lansdale.  There are 2 exciting breweries located within a 5 minute walk from the station.  The first one is Stove & Tap.  It is located at 329 W. Main St in Lansdale.  You can make reservations online if you are looking to do dinner, but there is also a very large bar where you and your friends could enjoy one of the 12 brews they have on tap daily.  There is always a local special seasonal draft and their menu boasts 4 other PA hops available.  There is a Milk Stout from Lancaster, Prima Pils from Downingtown, Puddlers Row from Conshohoken, and a Lansdale Lager from the next Brewery on our list..Round Guys!  For a list of beers, specialty cocktails and their amazing food, go to Stove and Tap. Their menu features everything from Wild Boar Meatloaf to Grilled Octopus and a Butternut Squash Risotto. 

Round Guys brewery is located directly across the street from Stove & Tap. Serving up specialty brews since 2012, this popular hotspot has a simple philosophy.  “Great Food, Great Beer”.  Their tap menu features 15 of their own brews.  From Belgian Ales to Imperial IPA’s, this place is for the beer lover in your life.  Across the street is their club called Underground.  They have concerts, game nights, open mic and comedy shows throughout the year.  Tickets are around $10.00, and you can reserve them online.  If you get hungry, the German inspired menu has bratwurst, spaetzle, pulled pork and more.  I recommend the My Morning Nachos, tortilla chips topped with homemade chili, beer cheese, lettuce and sour cream. 

If you are still ready for another adventure after that, get on the train and head to the Pennbrook Station.  About a 5 minute walk from there is the Smokehouse Tavern, which features 20 beers on tap, 55 bottles and 1 can. If you get hungry, order up some Hot Wings with a choice of 14 different sauces.  Or try a Monster Burger, double stacked with tomatoes, onion rings and pepper jack cheese.  The Smokehouse is located at 155 Pennbrook Pkwy in Lansdale, for more details and to view their menu go to Smokehouse Tavern.

There is one last stop on our “SEPTA Pub Crawl”.  Hop back on the train and head to North Wales.  Located directly across from the station is the new brew pub Ten7.  They currently offer 6 beers, from a Stout to an Ale to an IPA.  They have food trucks throughout the year, Ugly Sweater parties and of course, Eagles Game specials. To see what’s happening visit Ten7

Well, by now you’re probably tires and ready to head home.  I know I would be.  Remember, even though taking public transportation is much safer than driving when you have spent a few hours drinking, you still want to make sure you are aware and alert during your travels.  Try drinking water in between drinks, and always go with a friend.  If you do the SEPTA Pub Crawl, let us know about it!  Email me at marketing@ptma-mc.org, or visit us on facebook at Facebook .


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 20, 2018

Transit Thursday’s

Featuring: Riding SEPTA from Colmar to Doylestown 

This week I decided to do a little shopping in Doylestown.  It’s such a great town that is close to most areas in the Montgomery County.  I didn’t want the hassle of having to drive there and find parking though.  That can be tough, since it is mostly street parking and at this time of year everyone is out and about.  I knew Doylestown would be no different.  So, what is a girl to do?  Ride SEPTA!  It is easy, fast and a better way to travel all around. 

There is a sign at the entrance saying you need $1.00 in quarters to park, and that there is a big yellow box where you can put your coins in.  I found a parking spot and made a note in my head of the number of the lot.  Mine was 220.  I walked up to the station and noticed brand new SEPTA Key Readers!  I thought for sure that this meant that I did not need to put coins into any slot, but rather could use my SEPTA Key to pay for parking and even my ticket possibly.

I stood there for a few minutes at each reader, with no luck.  The instructions are perfectly listed, telling you to enter the lot number of where you parked, and telling you how to go about paying.  But no matter what I did, nothing worked.  I finally called Anthony, Deputy Director of the PTMA, and asked him about it.  He said the readers are probably not in use yet, and directed me to the big yellow box on the left hand side of the station in the parking lot to use my 4 quarters to put into slot 220.  I wanted to make sure I let you all know about this, so you don’t stand there trying to use the new SEPTA Key readers for 10 minutes with no luck. 

When looking at the schedule for my trip , which you can find here, http://www.septa.org/schedules/rail/pdf/doy.pdf , I noticed that there was a D next to the times for the Colmar Station.  I used the key at the bottom of the schedule to find out what that meant.  D= Stops to discharge or pick up passengers but may depart ahead of schedule.  Phew.  Good thing I got there early.  The train stopped at the station but just barely, to let off a couple of people and for me to hop on.  If I would have blinked twice, I may have missed it! 

I hopped on the train and headed to Doylestown.  It wasn’t crowded, and the conductor walked by and collected my $4.00.  I only had a $10 bill, but he was  still able to give me change onboard.  The ride from Colmar to Doylestown was a quick 20 minutes.  It was a cold and windy December day when I travelled, and I am glad I was prepared with gloves and a scarf.  I was also grateful for the heaters in the station that you can turn on yourself.  Once I got there, I walked to the Main St. and did some window shopping.  I had lunch at The Hattery, an upscale Brunch/Lunch place.  My Avocado BLT and French Onion Soup was delicious and really warmed me up.

 After that I headed over to the Fonthill Castle.  This was the former home of Henry Chapman Mercer.  He built the castle to serve as his home as well as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints.  It is now a historic building that you can tour, along with the Mercer Museum.   I did not have time to do a tour, but it is permanently on my bucket list.   

At this point, I was pretty cold.  So I decided to stop in Starbucks.  I forgot how large and comfy it is in there!  There were fireplaces going, it was very warm, and they served me up a delicious latte. 

It was time to head back to the train station for my trip home.  As was the case with Colmar, it was very easy to just hop on the train and have my $4 ready for the conductor to collect.  Before I knew it, we were back in Colmar and I was picking up my car. 

If you are looking for an easy way to get around Montgomery County, don’t forget to think about using Regional Rail.  It truly is a convenient way to go.  If you have questions about SEPTA Key, you can visit their website http://www.septa.org/key/ .  The turnstiles are going into effect at the Norristown High Speed Line on 1/7/2019 from 5:30 a.m to 9 a.m only.  Stay tuned for details on when they will be effective everywhere!  And in the meantime, Happy Riding!

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 13, 2018

Transit Thursday’s

Featuring: Review of Ready, Set, Retain!  

On December 4 the PTMA hosted an event with local non-profit organizations that can assist employers & employees to find, hire & train employees. Here are some highlights of what we learned:

  • MontcoWorks uses available funding to promote a thriving workforce system by ensuring that businesses have access to skilled workers and that job seekers obtain employment with a sustainable wage.  They are located at 1855 New Hope St. Norristown and online at www.montcopa.org.

The list of services offered for employers are:

  • Candidate screening and referral
  • PA Careerlink Job Posting Assistance
  • On-Site Recruitment Events and Job Fairs
  • Access to Labor Market Data
  • Information on Training Providers
  • Incumbent Worker Training & On-The-Job Training
  • Identifying Training Needs and Resources
  • Out-of-Area Recruitment Assistance

 

There are also plenty of other services through Community Connections Navigate & CareerLink.  They have offices in Lansdale, Norristown, Pottstown, and Willow Grove.  You can find more about their services at www.montcopa.org/communityconnections and http://www.pacareerlinkphl.org/

The Navicates serve as Navigators and Advocates and that is how they came up with the name “Navicate”.  This service is FREE of charge to ANY MONTGOMERY COUNTY RESIDENT!  

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    • Food
    • Low Cost Clothing and Shelter
    • Mental Heal
    • Health Car
    • Child Care
    • Assistance for People with Disabilities
    • Legal Assistance
    • Substance Abuse Assistance
    • Victim Services
    • Carpool/Vanpool Set Up
    • SEPTA Key Information & Senior SEPTA Key sign up
    • Up to date Bus Route information at your business
    • Shuttle Services Set Up
    • Telecommute Assistance
    • Roadwork Updates emailed to you weekly
    • Bike Share at your business
    • We also heard from Anthony Johnson, the Deputy Director of the PTMA to explain some of the Transportation needs that are available to you:
  • While I can’t go into everything we learned there because I would have to be writing a book to do that, I will tell you that it is well worth your time to make a phone call if you need help with any of these services.  And don’t forget the Navicates are there to help you Navigate.  If you have any other questions, please contact the PTMA at 215-997-9100 or email me at marketing@ptma-mc.org.           

     

    By: Tiffany Marrero (but that's Annette Jacobs, our amazing Office Manager!)

     

     

     

     

     

    By: Tiffany Marrero

         

     

     

     

     


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