Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Riders Go Behind The Scenes

Rail enthusiasts since their youth, Robert Ischinger and his wife Nancy, were especially excited when they recently won a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of SEPTA as a door prize when they attended an event supporting the renovation of a historic railroad dining car.

Their tour began with a visit to the recently renovated Juniper Station conveniently located in the concourse area beneath SEPTA Headquarters at 1234 Market Street. From the busy trolley station they ventured upstairs to meet with Assistant General Manager of Customer Service, Kim Scott Heinle. It wasn't long before they were visiting the Customer Service Call Center and sitting with a Customer Service Agent listening to customer inquiries. The Ischingers were amazed at the size of the center and the volume of the calls that were handled.

Their next stop was SEPTA's Control Center where supervisors and dispatchers from different transit modes keep the public transportation system moving.

"Our favorite part of the trip was visiting the Control Center," said Robert. "To see how everything comes together in one location was great. We were astounded to see how much it takes to operate such a large transportation system. From buses to rails and paratransit - I don't think people realize how complex and difficult it is to manage."  

"My father was a big RailFan," said Nancy. "It was great being able to grow up near Roslyn Station on the Warminster Regional Rail Line too. Just about all of us share the interest in rail transit. I grew up with so many fond memories of traveling the rails particularly during the holiday season. Our tour will certainly be a great memory Rob and I will enjoy for a long time."

Lunch with the General Manager capped off the tour.

In addition to earning several medals, Eddie Glover won his Behind-the-Scenes tour as a Special Olympics prize.

For the past 26 years, Glover has been competing in a variety of Special Olympics sports. The decorated athlete also knows a lot about transportation. He travels buses, trains and trolleys regularly and is a veritable encyclopedia of SEPTA information.

"Eddie is not only an excellent athlete," said Clare Walsh Miller, of the Special Olympics of Southeastern Pennsylvania, "he is also a dedicated individual; we wanted to do something nice for him."

Special Olympics Staff members Michelle Cordell and Jeff Baxter accompanied him on his SEPTA excursion.

"Eddie shows his excitement in very different ways," said Baxter. "When he found out he received the tour, he calmly said, 'I'm going', then would call me frequently to make sure we wouldn't be late. He is amazing. He even suggested some SEPTA Routes that would get us there and their schedule times. Nothing was keeping him from missing this tour!"

From the moment he entered SEPTA Headquarters wearing his neon green safety vest, Glover was eager to learn all he could about the system. Glover met with the Director of Customer Service, Rohan Hepkins in the call center where he was able to exchange his SEPTA route knowledge with the best. He later was treated to a special tour of the SEPTA Police Department where he met the officers who help keep our system safe. At his request he received a tour of the mail distribution center before also visiting the Control Center.

"I really enjoyed the Control Center and Customer Service," said Glover. "I also liked the tour of the police department. SEPTA really tries to keep people safe. I would like to take the tour again soon."

A limited number of behind-the-scenes opportunities like the ones experienced by the Ischingers and Eddie Glover are made available to organizations to raffle off to benefit worthy causes. Interested organizations should contact the Public & Government Affairs Division for more information.

Kim Scott Heinle , AGM of Customer Service, met with the Ischingers at SEPTA Headquarters in Center City

Nancy and husband Robert donned headphones at sat with agents as they assisted customers

Ron Hopkins, Chief Control Center Officer (right), explains to the Ischingers how Brenda Howard (seated) is tracking and dispatching buses

(L-R) Eddie Glover, Jeff Baxter, Kim Scott Heinle and Rohan Hepkins convene in the Customer Service Call Center

Glover is amazed by the high-tech equipment in the Control Center