2/17/23: Trolley Modernization - The Time Is Now

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An underground trolley platform with a red and white trolley car approaching the station

Next week, SEPTA's board votes on the purchase of new trolley cars. Currently, ZERO cars or stations are accessible to riders with disabilities. We need your voice to underscore the importance of this purchase as only the *first* step to a fully accessible, upgraded trolley system across Philadelphia.

WHERE: Online via WebEx
WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 3pm
Full meeting details and agenda.

Sign up to provide your public comment.

For decades longer than cars have occupied our streets, trolley tracks have crisscrossed southeastern Pennsylvania, offering residents, workers, and visitors direct, affordable transit. And when cities across the nation abandoned and tore out their vibrant systems, Philadelphia's endured. 

Currently, this includes seven routes across the city and suburbs in areas which disproportionately serve a low-income and global-majority population, aboard forty year-old cars on century-old lines. This despite the six trolley lines within Philadelphia's city limits serving more riders than any single bus or regional rail line. 

If many of our most-utilized transit services don't accommodate all riders, who is public transportation serving?

While Bus Revolution's network redesign is at the top of our minds, it's only one aspect of the six-year SEPTA Forward vision, laying out a redesigned bus network, trolley modernization, and a re-envisioned regional rail system.

Rendering of SEPTA trolley station with yellow rumble strips including a person in a power wheelchair boarding a trolley

Trolley Modernization promises accessible, fast, and straightforward service through new cars and stations that prioritize accessibility with ramps for boarding, longer vehicles, and proposed system extensions. A proposed new trolley yard was swooped by Amazon (who has yet to actually use the property), putting timelines in danger, but now SEPTA is primed to purchase the new cars that will provide the foundation for an overhauled system.

On Thursday, February 23, SEPTA's board will vote on the car purchase, and the time is now to show rider support for trolley upgrades and expansion.

With systemwide transit ridership still flagging, SEPTA must pursue all paths available to improve service, with short- and long-term investments. An accessible, faster trolley system complements a redesigned bus network for a region long reliant on outdated routes and vehicles. And in the areas most served by trolleys in Southwest Philadelphia and the Lower North, this means a region more connected to jobs, housing, medical facilities, and cultural institutions in Center City and University City.

We need your voice! Fill out this form to view our talking points, and get support on crafting your testimony.

Learn all about Trolley Modernization here


Provide general comments about the project here