Philadelphia Gas Works on South Broad Credit: Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Philadelphians are known for their attitude. But what if there was a place where the discourse got even more negative? A place where accountability was so low, it allowed our collective gloomy outlook to ferment, and somehow worsen?

As it turns out, that place exists. It goes by the name of Yelp.

On that website, where just about anyone can leave reviews on just about anything, the pessimism comes out tenfold. As might be expected, listings for many of Philly’s public agencies are a hotbed of online rants — although some of them, like the Free Library, emerge with flying colors.

For 11 city services and utilities, we pulled the most amusing and interesting reviews. Enjoy.


Average rating: 2 stars

Kerry S. (Bristol, PA)


“The best damn utility this side of the ol’mississip, they are a total POWERHOUSE!! You have electricity needs; they dish it up and serve it fresh.” (07/26/18)

Amit K. (Middletown, NJ)


“Powers been out since I woke up. No rain, no snow, no wind. Just incompetence.” (03/17/18)

Lee Z. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Our power went out this morning. I call the fine people at PECO to see why and when it will be restored. I am met with a nasty individual who ironically works in customer service. I tell her I’m worried, I have pets. The response to this, ‘You’re not the only one, other people have pets too.’” (04/29/17)

Philadelphia Traffic Court

Average rating: 2.5 stars

Abby W. (Philadelphia, PA)


“So… this is going to sound really crazy. Like, utterly insane. But I had a pleasant and exceedingly helpful exchange at Traffic Court just the other day!” (12/20/13)

Bill D. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Behold, the belly of the beast. A pig-infested palace of torment. The haunt of human misery. A mausoleum of the dreams of men.” (01/03/11)

Gandhus M. (Philadelphia, PA)


“PTC is a true shit storm of humanity.” (01/03/11)

Mayor’s Office

Average rating: 1 star

Robyn H. (Philadelphia, PA)


“I don’t know where else on Yelp to vent about my FRUSTRATION with the snow removal in the city.I’m a teacher, and I have to say… wow! What a crappy job the city has done in making the streets safe around our schools!!” (02/19/10)


Average rating: 1.5 stars

Charlotte D. (Philadelphia, PA)


“They ‘can’t fax’ anything. If you request a bill, you have to wait 5 days to get it through snail mail. It is the most ridiculous rule and it is unlike any other major (or minor) business. What kind of business of this level doesn’t have a fax machine?!” (11/28/18)

Michelle M. (Philadelphia, PA)


“The worst. Don’t do their budget plan or pay for parts and labor. It’s all a sham.” (09/07/18)

Jet F. (Philadelphia, PA)


“We took icy showers for a week waiting for PGW to do…….nothing.” (04/09/18)

PennDOT Driver License Center 

Average rating: 3 stars

Credit: Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Yannick L. (North Philadelphia, PA)


“Really wasn’t that bad. I mean the DMV is typically hell on earth, but this was actually tolerable.” (10/24/18)

Alexandra K. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Here’s the reality: this location is ALWAYS crazy crowded, any day of the week, any time of day. I remember this from when I was in college 10 years ago too. So budget yourself 3 hours, because you might finish sooner, but unless you’ve won some kind of time lottery that day, you’ll be here at least an hour.” (06/02/18)

Shane J. (Philadelphia, PA)


“No matter when you try to come – it is always crowded AF! My suggestion – be ready to catch up on your emails, return texts or do like me and take it ‘all in’ and enjoy the none sense around you.” (12/29/17)


Average rating: 2.5 stars

Jazzy J. (Brooklyn, NY)


“This company is so bad I’m convinced its ran by Trump. They buy up all the towers in certain areas and we’re basically forced to use their service if we want internet.” (8/24/17)

T A. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Worst service EVER. Use whatever company you can but not Comcast.” (12/15/17)

William M. (Pottstown, PA)


“Comcast xfinity worst experience of my life.” (2/28/16)

Free Library of Philadelphia

Average rating: 4.5 stars

Free Library of Philadelphia Credit: Miguel Martinez / Billy Penn

Nancy S. (Doylestown, PA)


“For the cost (FREE) you cannot beat the tours at the main branch of the Free Library. We always take visiting out of town guests, but we love the place too.” (11/20/18)

Matt W. (Washington, D.C.)


“Came for the public restrooms stayed for the books and the wifi.” (10/26/17)

Joy M. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Of all the resources and services offered by the Free Library of Philadelphia, I enjoy the author events the most. Tonight I saw Gabourey Sidibe!” (05/04/17)

Philadelphia Police Department 

Average rating: 3 stars

Philadelphia police monitor a protest in August 2017 Credit: Kriston Jae Bethel

Fox E. (Buffalo, NY)


“I’ve actually never had any trouble with the Philadelphia Police Department and that is saying a lot because I’ve had a lot of trouble with a lot of police departments.” (12/26/17)

Timothy W. (Philadelphia, PA)


“1% are good people the other 99% are douche bags who think their badge gives them the right to treat you like garbage.” (03/17/10)

Brian M. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Imagine being a cop… now imagine being a cop in Philly. Ever notice the amount of stark-raving lunatics and a-holes wandering around this town? And you thought your job was annoying.” (12/05/09)

PHL Airport

Average rating: 2.5 stars

For an airport, PHL has a decent beer selection Credit: Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Lena Y. (San Diego, CA)


“Philly airport has stepped up their game with more eating and shopping options within the terminal. I was in Terminal C and my flight was delayed so it was nice to wonder through the marketplace and easily find a place to sit and charge my phone. Nice to see the airport upgrade over the years.” (12/21/18)

Kristina G. (Harrisburg, PA)


“The security line moves quickly and the people are friendly yet down to business. There are plenty of signs to help you find your way so you shouldn’t get lost. And there’s plenty to eat and drink while you wait for your flight. Also the bathrooms are relatively clean. So all in all while I do moan about having to use this airport from time to time, besides the parking situation, its really not so bad!” (12/19/18)

Kevin B. (Minneapolis, MN)


“The Philly airport is an unglamorous but well functioning large airport.” (11/21/18)


Average rating: 1.5 stars

Wesley P. (Philadelphia, PA)


“I am not sure $36.00 was worth two hours of my time. In Philadelphia, that is bureaucracy that all residents have to live with. It’s not like PPA is going to pay me for a mistake that they made, which costs me my time, right? It’s not like I only have one life to live. Stay away at all costs.” (11/02/18)

Alfred R. (Moorestown, NJ)


“I apologize to you who cross path with this group of parasites.” (10/18/18)

Johnny S. (Philadelphia, PA)


“The PPA is the devil. 0 stars.” (02/20/18)


Average rating: 1.5 stars

An open car on SEPTA’s Market Frankford Line Credit: Anna Orso / Billy Penn

Devin R. (Philadelphia, PA)


“The street car lines are a patchwork of forgotten dreams.” (05/19/18)

Maggie C. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Don’t even deserve 1 star. Severely disorganized. Trains constantly displaced for unknown reasons and must switch. 45 minutes added to the trip. You have one job.” (05/10/18)

Lauren F. (Philadelphia, PA)


“Nasty ass buses with cloth on the seats . Why tf would you have cloth when theres bed bugs , other rodents , and things that get spilled on cloth that they’re not gonna clean.” (03/28/18)

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Michaela Winberg

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...