SEPTA recently announced that in an effort to make it easier to navigate the
numerous rail lines and systems that make up SEPTA, they are in the process
of "making things simpler".
My biggest question to them is: Are you REALLY going to make things easier,
or is this just the upper management exercise in deciding on how to best waste 40 million
dollars, without making it easier to navigate or by bringing in additional riders?
They have apparently had "studies" performed to show the inadequacy of the
current naming and numbering system, citing too many names that are
confusing to not only long time residents, but visitors as well. After
visiting Philadelphia for well over 50 years, I have gotten to know the
systems well enough to get around, but still not without a map - I don't
think renaming or re-branding anything will really improve anything, because
the system is so comprehensive and multi-modal, which, in and of itself, is
more to blame than just the sheer size of the whole system.
If they are truly trying to make things easier on visitors, naming
everything (besides the commuter) lines to METRO is a big mistake, because
almost every other country out there only uses the term METRO to describe a
heavy rail / subway type system. If you want to confuse a foreigner,
go ahead and use Metro on a tram line! For foreign visitors, this is the equivalent
of using "alternate right of way" in place of "alternate merge" on a highway
sign, as the Maryland DOT/SHA did when you come to the end of I-70 at the
Baltimore Beltway. They will find MERGE in their translation booklets,
but not likely to find right-of-way. Maybe the powers to be in
SEPTA should consider naming the systems as they do internationally, then,
foreign visitors would know what the hell they are referring to.
They also apparently want to "re-do" their rail map. WHY? It's
great the way it is.....
In one of the comments below, a reader states that the Baltimore MTA system
spent well over 100 million dollars to do the same thing, without any net
increase in ridership... so how did the renaming of lines accomplish
States and local municipalities that own and operate these systems are
already financially strapped, so why would they want to take on additional
debt that does not provide any extra income to help offset these re-branding
costs? Yeah, I don't know either :-) You have often heard me say
that if these companies had to make a profit, they sure would be run
As of September 2021, SEPTA is inviting comments, but most of us figure that
it is a legal requirement, more than an honest "get the publics opinion
opportunity". Having worked at the Baltimore Light Rail System for 4
years, and they did the same thing and even got the employees involved, they
came up with every excuse in the book to NOT implement anything we
suggested.... anything. It was all an exercise in futility. I
suspect SEPTA will be no different, as they have probably already made up
As most of us know, the SEPTA rail system includes:
• Regional commuter lines inherited from both the Reading RR and the Pennsylvania RR
• Two subway / EL lines: the Broad Street line and the Market-Frankford line
• Numerous trolley lines referred to as the Subway Surface lines
• Another "subway surface" / trolley line, but usually denoted separately as the (#15) Girard Ave line
• Two "kind of" interurban trolley lines running on a lot of private
right-of-ways going to Media and Sharon Hill
• A "high speed trolley line" going to Norristown using single car LRV's
(light rail vehicles), but powered by a third rail
• AND, if you want to include it because it comes into Philadelphia,
there is the PATCO heavy rail line going into New Jersey
• In addition to the rail lines, there is a plethora of standard bus lines,
and there are several electric "trolley bus" or "trackless trolley" lines
Here is the basic re-branding scheme in two parts, edited:
Here is my reasoning behind the alternate recommendations: I don't se any
reason for using the plural for all lines (even though the Broad Street line
has the Broad-Ridge spur). If they ever extend the Norristown line
over to King-of-Prussia, keep the original line Norristown, and use
"N", doing this frees-up the "M" for the Media line. If "we" ever get
to King-of-Prussia, you can label it the "K" or "P" line.
Instead of using Delaware lines, call them by their separate
names, "S" and "M". NEITHER Montgomery or Delaware
have any meaning to an out-of-towner, much less a foreigner - how many
people know county names? So use
their destinations to name the lines, besides, in New York City, you have
multiple lines using the same tracks, and it works for them.... make it work
here too instead of going from one confusing system to another!
If you're going to have a list of the lines, please alphabetize them so we
don't look like a bunch of two-year olds playing with blocks.
These are some of the comments floating around on one of the transportation
groups on GROUPS.IO.
Bob makes a brilliant point about spending 135 million and not having any
new riders for the effort!!! :-(
SEPTA is probably doomed to the same fate......
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Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
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