http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/05/ ... /index.xml
Mixed reviews to SEPTA's busker limits
. While waiting for the early evening R6 train at Suburban Station, some riders listen to their iPods or other music devices. Joe Kovach prefers the toe-tapping rhythms of street musicians.
"Sometimes it's entertaining when you're waiting for a train, especially with delays," said Kovach, a Phoenixville resident and daily Regional Rail commuter, watching a performer sing and play the keyboard. "It gives you something to watch."
Complaints from riders and merchants, however, prompted a new SEPTA policy that goes into effect Aug. 3, restrictings performers to certain areas, while requiring them to have free permits. It is drawing mixed reviews from SEPTA passengers.
Kovach said he considers the crackdown on free entertainment unnecessary, but noted that it may make other passengers feel more comfortable.
"Sometimes you feel obligated to give them something," he said.
Brian Rose, a daily commuter who waits for the R6 train at the Juan Valdez Cafe in the station, said the volume of music and number of performers became down-right annoying, especially from those with amplifiers, which SEPTA has also outlawed.
"This the second time in like an hour that he had to be yelled at," Rose said, pointing to the keyboard player. "It's very loud, and just the mix of music when there's so many people that do it [is annoying]."
Peter Hansen, SEPTA's manager of office facilities, said he does not expect to have trouble enforcing the new policy.
"Like any new regulation, it’s going to take time for people to get used to it," he said. "It’s going to take us time to see what the reaction is."
SEPTA UNPLUGGED HELPS SOME, HURTS OTHERS
Dennis Appleby, a cashier at Juan Valdez Cafe in Suburban Station, has had days where the "noise" coming from street musicians in the concourse was so loud it was nearly impossible to conduct business.
"If I can't hear the customers and they can't hear me that annoys them and me because you don't want to be screaming over each other," said Appleby, adding that complained to SEPTA a few times nearly a year ago about the disturbances.
In his case, SEPTA's new policy restricting performers to four designated areas and requiring free permits beginning Aug. 3 could mean better business in the down economy.
But the same can't be said for Peter Pettit, 54, who has played his electronic keyboard in the station for almost six years in the afternoons. He said the crackdown is another way for SEPTA to harasses street musicians and regulate a tax-free industry.
"I used to get down here and make $80 to $100 on a good day," said Pettit, who occasionally works at a bike shop with his brother. "When it comes down to three hours, you won't make no more than $20 to $40...A lot of people not even gonna be interested in playing no three hours.