Strike Over, Noisy Buses Back

What say you, Willie? Take the pledge for quieter buses?

The transit strike is over. Yes, it will be very nice to see the buses and trains running. Children can get to school again. The elderly can reschedule medical appointments they had to miss. And workers too poor (or environmentally sensible) to own a car can stop getting up an hour or two earlier in the morning to map out  a strategy for getting to work. (I'm not sure I can continue to look my bus driver in the eye anymore and be the one to say good morning only to get the same no-response stare. But that's a personal matter I'll have to grapple with.)

It won't be so great, however, to have to hear buses again. It was a small side benefit to a painful week of no public transportation.

But it was lovely to have the city so quiet.

You didn't have to cup your ears on Chestnut Street. You didn't have to hold your breath on Broad. It was ridiculous that SEPTA took the position a few years ago that musicians busking in subways were making too much noise - while its buses were the source of deafening cacophony. I'm not using the word deafening lightly. I'd bet that SEPTA buses are operating at decibel levels high enough to cause permanent damage.

SEPTA has plans for what it says are quieter buses. We can't wait to hear whether the decibels will really fall.

So, now that we've been reminded just how loud and dirty SEPTA's ancient fleet is, can the agency do anything about it? Union boss Willie Brown (pictured), take note: he who takes on that issue might win a grateful public.