At least a half-dozen phony "Notice to the Public" signs were slipped into display cases on trains of the Frankford-Market El, SEPTA confirmed today.
The signs were not just a PhotoShop-ortunity gone viral online, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch confirmed. One or more hoaxsters - or jokesters - started posting the signs as early as last week.
Soon, pictures of the official-looking posters were showing up on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
The messages broadly lambasted - or lampooned - the transit system and many types of riders - from "drug addicts" to "obnoxious Penn students," so SEPTA had them removed.
The agency is also actively looking for more signs.
"We do find the message very offensive in general," Busch said.
Others, though, detect wit.
Here's the text - minus some family-unfriendly words:
"Notice to the Public
"The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is committed to providing non-discriminatory transportation services to all of its passengers, including schizophrenics, drug addicts, Irish Catholics, hipsters, . . . gentrifying transplants, raging maniacs, tourists, obnoxious Penn students, corner boys, pimps, drunk rich kids who still think Old City is cool, and terrified suburbanites who tremble with unease at the sight of everyone.
"Any person who is or seeks to be a patron of any SEPTA public vehicle shall be entitled to the same depressing experience of loud cell phones, obese people eating McDonalds, parents telling their toddlers to "Shut the . . . Up!", and a constant inch-deep layer of urine-soaked trash and debris.
"No person or group of persons shall be discriminated against on any grounds with regard to routing, scheduling, or quality of transportation service furnished by SEPTA, with the following exceptions - race, color, socioeconomic status, and proximity to the suburbs.
"Any person who has experienced a cleaner, more efficient, more extensive, and better managed public transportation system in the U.S. (e.g. most if not all) can feel free to notify SEPTA about potential improvements, which shall promptly be ignored."
"There's a lot in there to find offensive to a lot of people," Busch said.
So far, SEPTA hasn't learned who's behind the stunt.
"It would be considered defacing or vandalizing SEPTA property and that's something we take seriously," Busch warned. "It would be dealt with in the appropriate manner."
As for the shots at SEPTA, he said, "We don't really want to get into responding to the individual points. Obviously, they don't reflect our views or opinions."
While this kind of hoax is a new one for SEPTA, it has happened in other areas, he said.
As evidence, he shared a photo of a New York sign that read:
"Jan 1 - Dec 31
"All the Time
"12:01 AM - 12:00 AM
"All trains will be crowded, G train will be too short and never on time. L train will be crowded no matter what. Our PA system will barely function and be barely audible if at all.
"How does this affect my trip?
"We don't care.
"You're basically screwed.
"You'll probably be late to work.
"You get to smell the homeless guy next to you longer.
"You get to listen to the ENTIRE podcast!
"Free entertainment = watching rats on the tracks.
"Tired of waiting? Run through the tunnel. We dare you.
"Oh yeah, we're STILL going to increase the fare rate.
"Why does service suck?
"We already have your money, so who cares? We don't."
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.