PlanPhilly is launching a new collaborative playlist for commutes through the city. But please don’t play it out loud on SEPTA, because it’s bad etiquette.
SEPTA’s policy on loud music is that it is officially prohibited on transit. But agency spokesperson Andrew Busch said while blasting your personal soundtrack is not allowed, SEPTA Police doesn’t actively enforce against the violation.
Busch described it as a violation of etiquette unless it is being done in conjunction with a citable offense or it becomes a chronic problem.
“We rely on our customer etiquette program,” Busch said. “It’s not something we rely on police to enforce.”
SEPTA’s social media team suggests passengers simply ride it out.
Unfortunately the can only suggest but also told to avoid confrontation. It is not a law that can be enforced. ^NV
— SEPTA_SOCIAL (@SEPTA_SOCIAL) October 15, 2019
Five percent of SEPTA passengers surveyed in 2008 said loud music was the single most offensive breach of customer etiquette while riding or waiting. The largest share, 41%, said it was “loud cell phone conversations,” a not so distant annoyance.
The question is absent from SEPTA’s most recent rider survey, though clearly some riders do have opinions.
These people who play music straight out of their phones are either mentally unstable or looking to provoke confrontation. They are anti-social creatures who demonstrate no regard for their fellow humans, and lack a moral compass.
Get yourself some louder headphones.
— Aaron Bauman (@aaronbauman) October 16, 2019
Our northeast neighbor New York City prohibits the use of “sound production” devices on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority service. Such devices include “any radio receiver, phonograph, television receiver, musical instrument, tape recorder, cassette player, compact disc player, speaker device or system, and any sound amplifier or any sound-producing device of similar nature.”
Penalties for violating the prohibition can result in criminal prosecution with penalties ranging from a $25 fine and/or up to 10 days in jail, or fines up to $100 per penalty from the transit adjudication bureau.
“Use headphones with all audio and video devices” is the first thing listed under “Do” on the D.C. area’s Metro system’s Rules and Manners page. The district recently decriminalized playing music without headphones, but violators are still subject to a $50 civil fine.
While SEPTA has no such civil fines on the books, Busch said riders should alert SEPTA employees for such incidents.
For suburban commuters, there is always the option of the “quiet car,” weekdays during rush hour.
But for those who listen to music and aren’t jerks, we recommend the PlanPhilly playlist on Spotify. Follow the playlist to listen and add songs yourself.