SCORES OF PHILLIES fans yesterday did what the city told them to do - took public transit.

Well, they tried to, anyway.

SEPTA and PATCO were overwhelmed by historic crowds at train stations, subway platforms and bus stops.

Despite extra service, many Phillies fans waited for hours watching packed trains or buses pass them by. Some people gave up and drove in. Some frustrated commuters in New Jersey walked over the Ben Franklin Bridge.

But many missed the parade altogether.

According to SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney, the region's public-transit system was completely overloaded.

"It was historic," Maloney said. "Starting about 7:30 they just came in hordes. We are running every possible vehicle we have, and we're running every vehicle we have as many times we can."

Then, of course, there was the issue of getting people home.

At 1 p.m. SEPTA halted all inbound Regional Rail trains to the city so it would have all its trains available to take people out of town. That service was restored at about 5:30 p.m.

SEPTA also stopped running the Broad Street Line south of the Vine Street stop between 1 and 5 p.m. - again to keep more trains available to take people north, away from the parade route.

As of 7:30 last night, Maloney said, there were still crowds of people waiting for Regional Rail lines, which were still delayed then, in Market East and Suburban stations. He said the Broad Street Line was back on schedule by 6 p.m.

"It's still just the volume of people getting out of here [causing the delays] primarily at Suburban Station," Maloney said, estimating that there were hundreds of thousands of passengers. "[But] we're very surprised of how quickly the city cleaned out. We were anticipating a lot worse."

PATCO spokesman Ed Kasuba did not give out numbers but said the South Jersey transit line had similar problems with incredibly long lines to buy tickets and board trains. He said most of the problems eased up about 12:30 p.m.

Here are stories of several of the victims of yesterday's travel crunch:

* David Buckman, 46, of Merion, had tickets for himself and his son Daniel, 13, to get into Citizens Bank Park. They waited 45 minutes for a train in Narberth.

"No train came," he said. "The express trains just whizzed by." "We got a ride into town, but the Broad Street line is suspended."

Once in Center City, they walked along the platform of the Broad Street Line at Walnut, looking dejected.

"There's no way we're going to get [to the stadium]," Buckman said. "SEPTA was completely ill-prepared. It shouldn't be that hard. But they didn't beef up service."

* Erin Avon, 31, her husband and their 10-month-old son, who live in Havertown, went to the Wynnewood station to take the train to the parade yesterday morning.

After three full trains passed by, they got fed up.

"So we got in the car," Avon said. "We had no issue driving in and parking."

* Tim Kent, 36, drove six hours from Virginia to get to Citizens Bank Park. He had tickets for himself and his friend Cathy Sweeney, of Northeast Philadelphia. About 12:30, they got to Bridge and Pratt, where they boarded the El, but when they arrived in Center City they found that the subway service was suspended.

"They told us to get off," he said. "We were stuck in the concourse over an hour. The cops didn't know anything and I knew we weren't going to make it.

"I'm pissed," he said. "I waited 30 years for a championship and I have no pictures. I just have pictures of a bunch of drunk people walking around. I could have done that in Virginia."

* Sheila Burns scoffed when her kids said they should give up and watch the parade at a local restaurant. Burns, of Voorhees, Camden County, wouldn't stand in line for two hours at the PATCO station in nearby Lindenwold, but she wasn't going to watch the biggest parade of her life on television.

Instead, she and her crew tackled the pedestrian walkway on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

"This is history," she said. "There's no way I'm missing it."

* Elaine Cronin, 49, arrived at the Doylestown train station with her 13-year-old son, Evan, at 8:30 a.m. "It was mobbed," she said. So they drove to Lansdale, hopped a train and arrived at Suburban Station in Center City around the start of the parade.

But Suburban was so packed that they couldn't get out of the station until after the parade had moved south onto Broad Street. Then they couldn't chase the parade south because the subway had been suspended.

"The subway was closed so we missed the whole parade," she said. "They told us to take mass transit and didn't add the extra trains. It doesn't make sense."

They walked together down Broad Street over crushed beer cans, confetti and trash, the remnants of the party they had missed.

* Kristie Aaron and Kaitlin Hare, both 15, from Egg Harbor City, N.J., got to the train station about 9 a.m., where the trains were only letting people off.

"So we took a bus to Lindenwold, Hare said. "The next eight trains were filled. We waited and waited. Finally, we took the bus."

They arrived in Center City at 12:45. "We missed the parade," Hare said. "We made it all this way, but just to see the crowds, not the parade." *

Staff writer Morgan Zalot contributed to this article.