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Betty Anderson: Keeping Fans Moving On The Sports Express

As a SEPTA Station Manager, Elizabeth "Betty" Anderson uses her people and organizational skills to oversee cashiers and carry out a variety of administrative duties.

But she pulls on a different skill-set to manage another group of people - fans using SEPTA to get to-and-from games, concerts and other big events at the Sports Complex in South Philadelphia.

"I'm almost like a mother," Anderson said, adding that her nursing background probably also helps in what is sometimes a caretaker-type role. Anderson was a nurse before joining SEPTA, initially as a bus operator, nine years ago.

The role managing these crowds suits Anderson, who also previously worked as a SEPTA cashier, but, "I didn't like sitting in the booth. I always wanted to get out and talk to people."

That's not a problem when she's called to duty at the Pattison Avenue Station on a game night. In fact, it's central to her job.

Anderson actively engages fans in the area around the station as they arrive and leave with smiles and her quick-wit - an approach that has kindled friendships with a number of season ticket holders she encounters on a regular basis. Roaming the areas around the station head houses, she's always available to answer questions, and she also keeps an eagle-eye out for people who look confused or unsure where they need to go to catch the Broad Street Line.

"Out-of-towners are usually easy to spot," she said. "They kind of just stand there looking around, so you want to make sure you get them where they need to go."

But even as she exchanges jokes and pleasantries with fans out to have a good time, Anderson is keeping track of the ticking clock, particularly when fans begin their exodus from the stadiums and arenas.

After the game, Anderson said there is about a 30-minute window to get riders onto awaiting subway trains and on their way home. Failure to do so can throw off schedules - and creates other potential problems.

"You don't want people lingering around after a game," she said. "The longer they hang around, the more potential there is for something bad to happen, so it's very important to keep them moving."

Enter Anderson, in her mothering-nurse role.

"I always take a non-confrontational approach," she said. "It probably also helps that I'm not this big security guard or something like that - I don't look very threatening."

But, that doesn't mean that she doesn't have to handle guard-like duties. She just does it in a slightly unconventional way.

"If I see someone doing something that could lead to a problem, I'll say, 'Oh, come on, you don't want to do that.' And most of the time, they'll stop doing whatever it is they're doing," she said. "Sometimes I'll even get a smile, sometimes I won't, but they usually start moving on."

For proof that this approach works, look no further than Anderson's track record.

"There's never been any problems on my watch," she said. "And I'm not going to let anything happen on my watch."

Station Manager Elizabeth Anderson.

Phillies fans at the Pattison Avenue Station at the Sports Complex.

Eagles fans pass through the Pattison Avenue Station.

The scene outside the station prior to a Phillies game.