Philadelphia streetcar/trolley No. 2267 at Erie and Allegheny, May 1976.

(Drew Jacksich from San Jose, California, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Angled white "S" with the word SEPTA in blue underneath. The background to the left of the "S" is blue and red on the right.


The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional public transportation authority that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly four million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It also manages projects that maintain, replace and expand its infrastructure, facilities and vehicles.

SEPTA is the major transit provider for Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester. It is a state-created authority, with the majority of its board appointed by the five Pennsylvania counties it serves. While several SEPTA commuter rail lines terminate in the nearby states of Delaware and New Jersey, additional service to Philadelphia from those states is provided by other agencies: the PATCO Speedline from Camden County, New Jersey is run by the Delaware River Port Authority, a bi-state agency; NJ Transit operates many bus lines and a commuter rail line to Philadelphia's Center City; and DART First State runs feeder bus lines to SEPTA stations in the state of Delaware.

SEPTA has the sixth-largest U.S. rapid transit system by ridership, and the fifth-largest overall transit system in the U.S. with about 302 million annual unlinked trips as of fiscal year 2018. It controls 290 active stations, over 450 miles (720 km) of track, 2,350 revenue vehicles, and 196 routes. It also oversees shared-ride services in Philadelphia and ADA services across the region, which are operated by third-party contractors, Amtrak, and NJ Transit.

SEPTA is the only U.S. transit authority that operates all of the five major types of terrestrial transit vehicles: regional commuter rail trains, rapid transit subway and elevated trains, light rail trolleys, trolleybuses, and motorbuses. This title was shared with Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which also runs ferryboat service, until trolleybuses in Greater Boston were discontinued in 2023.


The former SEPTA Route 6 trolley in Philadelphia, c. 1980.

(Voogd075 at nl.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)




SEPTA was created by the Pennsylvania legislature on August 17, 1963, to coordinate government funding to various transit and railroad companies in southeastern Pennsylvania. It commenced on February 18, 1964.

On November 1, 1965, SEPTA absorbed two predecessor agencies:

The Passenger Service Improvement Corporation (PSIC), was created on January 20, 1960, to work with the Reading Company and Pennsylvania Railroad to improve commuter rail service and help the railroads maintain otherwise unprofitable passenger rail service.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Compact (SEPACT), was created September 8, 1961, by the City of Philadelphia and the Counties of Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester to coordinate regional transport issues.
By 1966, the Reading Company and Pennsylvania Railroad commuter railroad lines were operated under contract to SEPTA. On February 1, 1968, the Pennsylvania Railroad merged with the New York Central railroad to become Penn Central, only to file for bankruptcy on June 21, 1970. Penn Central continued to operate in bankruptcy until 1976, when Conrail took over its assets along with those of several other bankrupt railroads, including the Reading Company. Conrail operated commuter services under contract to SEPTA until January 1, 1983, when SEPTA took over operations and acquired track, rolling stock, and other assets to form the Railroad Division.


The entrance to the 15–16th & Locust station on Locust Street in Center City Philadelphia, which serves as both a SEPTA and PATCO station. (User:Ii2nmd, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


The above-ground Market–Frankford Line in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. (Dasprevailz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Subsequent expansion

Like New York City's Second Avenue Subway, the original proposal for the Roosevelt Boulevard Subway dates to 1913, but construction has remained elusive. Instead, after completing the Market–Frankford Line in and around the city stagnated until the early 2000s.

On September 30, 1968, SEPTA acquired the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC), which operated a citywide system of bus, trolley, and trackless trolley routes, the Market–Frankford Line (subway-elevated rail), the Broad Street Line (subway) and the Delaware River Bridge Line (subway-elevated rail to City Hall, Camden, NJ) which became SEPTA's City Transit Division. The PTC had been created in 1940 with the merger of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company (formed in 1902) and a group of smaller, then-independent transit companies operating within the city and its environs.

On January 30, 1970, SEPTA acquired the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines, which included the Philadelphia and Western Railroad (P&W) route now called the Norristown High-Speed Line, the Media and Sharon Hill Lines (Routes 101 and 102) and several suburban bus routes in Delaware County. Today, this is the Victory Division, though it is sometimes referred to as the Red Arrow Division.

On March 1, 1976, SEPTA acquired the transit operations of Schuylkill Valley Lines, which is today the Frontier Division. Meanwhile, SEPTA gradually began to take over the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Company commuter trains. SEPTA primarily sought to consolidate the formerly-competing services, leading to severe cutbacks in the mid-1980s. Subsequent proposals have been made to restore service to Allentown, Bethlehem, West Chester, and Newtown, with support from commuters, local officials and pro-train advocates.

SEPTA's planning department focused on the Schuylkill Valley Metro, a "cross-county metro" that would re-establish service to Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading without requiring the rider to go into Philadelphia. However, ridership projections were dubious, and the Federal Railroad Administration refused to fund the project.

Many derelict lines under SEPTA ownership have been converted to rail trails, postponing any restoration proposals for the foreseeable future. Proposals have also been made for increased service on existing lines, including later evenings and Sundays to Wilmington, Delaware and Newark in Delaware. Maryland's MARC commuter rail system is considering extending its service as far as Newark, which would allow passengers to connect directly between SEPTA and MARC. Other recent proposals have focused on extending and enhancing SEPTA's other transit services. Senator Bob Casey has supported recent proposals expanding the Broad Street Line to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. As of December 2017, SEPTA had completed an Environmental Impact Statement to extend the Norristown High Speed Line to the King of Prussia area.

In September 2021, SEPTA proposed rebranding their rail transit services, the Market–Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Subway–Surface trolley lines, Norristown High-Speed Line, Route 15 trolley, and Routes 101 and 102 trolleys) as the "SEPTA Metro", in order to make the system easier to navigate. Under this proposal, new maps, station signage, and line designations would be created. Under the proposed nomenclature, trunk lines would receive a letter and a color, with services having a numeric suffix and service name, to make wayfinding easier. Services on the current Market–Frankford Line, for instance, would be called "the L" and colored blue, with local service becoming the "L1 Market–Frankford Local". SEPTA budgeted $40 million to June 2023 for the rebranding. SEPTA upgraded its website in late 2023 in advance of the planned rollout of SEPTA Metro in 2024.



SEPTA's public services consist of three main networks: SEPTA Metro, bus operations, and regional rail.

As of 2024, SEPTA is in the process of rolling out SEPTA Metro, a unified brand for its urban rail transit services, including rapid transit, trolley, and interurban services. SEPTA has the largest trolley system in the United States.



SEPTA lists 115 bus routes, not including about two dozen school trips, with most routes in the City of Philadelphia proper. SEPTA generally employs lettered, one-digit, and two-digit route numbering for its City Division routes; 90-series and 100-series routes for its Suburban Division routes; 200-series routes for its Regional Rail connector routes; 300-series routes for other specialized or third-party contract routes; and 400-series routes for limited-service buses to schools within Philadelphia.

Trolleybuses, or trackless trolleys as they are called by SEPTA, operate on routes 59, 66, and 75. Service resumed in spring 2008 after a nearly five-year suspension. Until June 2002, five SEPTA routes were operated with trackless trolleys, using AM General vehicles built in 1978–79. Routes 29, 59, 66, 75 and 79 used trackless trolleys, but were converted to diesel buses for an indefinite period starting in 2002 (routes 59, 66, 75) and 2003 (routes 29, 79).

The aging AM General trackless trolleys were retired and in February 2006, SEPTA placed an order for 38 new low-floor trackless trolleys from New Flyer Industries, enough for routes 59, 66 and 75, and the pilot trackless trolley arrived for testing in June 2007. The vehicles were delivered between February and August 2008. Trackless trolley service resumed on Routes 66 and 75 on April 14, 2008, and on Route 59 the following day, but was initially limited to just one or two vehicles on each route, as new trolley buses gradually replaced the motorbuses serving the routes over a period of several weeks.

The SEPTA board voted in October 2006 not to order additional vehicles for Routes 29 and 79, and those routes permanently became non-electric.


Regional rail

Main article: See SEPTA Regional Rail
On January 1, 1983, SEPTA took over the commuter rail services formerly operated by Conrail under contract and reorganized them as Regional Rail. This division operates 13 lines serving more than 150 stations covering most of the five-county southeastern Pennsylvania region. It also runs trains to Wilmington and Newark in Delaware and Trenton and West Trenton in New Jersey. Daily ridership on the regional rail network averaged 58,713 in 2023, with the Lansdale/Doylestown, Paoli/Thorndale, and Trenton lines each receiving over 7,000 riders per day.

Most of the cars used on the lines were built between 1976 and 2013. After building delays, the first Silverliner V cars were introduced into service on October 29, 2010. These cars represent the first new electric multiple units purchased for the Regional Rail system since the completion of the Silverliner IV order in 1976 and the first such purchase to be made by SEPTA. As of March 19, 2013, all Silverliner V cars are in service and make up almost one-third of the current 400 car Regional Rail fleet, which are replacing the older, aging fleet.

In July 2016, a serious structural flaw, including cracks in a weight-bearing beam on a train car's undercarriage, was discovered during an emergency inspection to exist in more than 95% of the 120 Silverliner V cars in the SEPTA regional rail fleet. SEPTA announced that it would take "the rest of the summer" to repair and would reduce the system's capacity by as much as 50%. In addition to regular commuter rail service, the loss of system capacity was also expected to cause transportation issues for the Democratic National Convention being held in Philadelphia on the week of July 25, 2016.


SEPTA's Route 34 trolley in the 4500 block of Baltimore Pike.

(studio34 from Philadelphia, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Operational divisions

SEPTA has three major operating divisions: City Transit, Suburban, and Regional Rail. These divisions reflect the different transit and railroad operations that SEPTA has assumed. SEPTA also offers CCT Connect paratransit service.

City Transit Division
The City Transit Division operates routes mostly within Philadelphia, including buses, subway–surface trolleys, one surface trolley line, the Market–Frankford Line, and the Broad Street Line. SEPTA City Transit Division surface routes include bus and trackless trolley lines. Some city division routes extend into Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties. This division is the descendant of the Philadelphia Transportation Company. Aside from the two heavy rail lines, the City Transit Division has eight operating depots in this division: five of these depots only operate buses, one is a mixed bus/trackless trolley depot, one is a mixed bus/streetcar depot and one is a streetcar-only facility.


SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line at the Gulph Mills station in Gulph Mills.

(Adam E. Moreira, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Suburban Division

Victory District

The Victory District operates suburban bus and trolley or light rail routes that are based at 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby in Delaware County. Its light rail routes comprise the Norristown High Speed Line (Route 100) that runs from 69th Street Transportation Center to Norristown Transportation Center and the SEPTA Surface Media and Sharon Hill Trolley Lines (Routes 101 and 102). This district is the descendant of the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines. Some residents of the Victory District operating area still refer to this district as the "Red Arrow Division".

Frontier District
The Frontier District operates suburban bus routes that are based at the Norristown Transportation Center in Montgomery County and bus lines that serve eastern Bucks County. This district is the descendant of the Schuylkill Valley Lines in the Norristown area and the Trenton-Philadelphia Coach Lines in eastern Bucks County. SEPTA took over Schuylkill Valley Lines operations on March 1, 1976. SEPTA turned over the Bucks County routes (formerly Trenton-Philadelphia Coach Line Routes, a subsidiary of SEPTA) to Frontier Division in November 1983.

Suburban contract operations
Krapf Transit operates one bus line under contract to SEPTA in Chester County: Route 204 between Paoli Regional Rail Station and Eagleville. This route is operated from Krapf's own garage, located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Krapf has operated three other bus routes for SEPTA in the past. Route 202 (West Chester to Wilmington), Route 207 (The Whiteland WHIRL) and Route 208 (Strafford Train Station to Chesterbrook) are no longer operating.

SEPTA contracted bus operations before in Chester County. SEPTA and Reeder's Inc. joined forces in 1977 to operate three bus routes out of West Chester. These routes were Route 120 (West Chester to Coatesville), Route 121 (West Chester to Paoli), and Route 122 (West Chester to Oxford). Bus service between West Chester and Coatesville was a replacement for the previous trolley service operated by West Chester Traction. SEPTA replaced two of the routes with their own bus service. Route 122 service was replaced by SEPTA's Route 91 in July 1982, after only one year of service. Route 91 was eliminated due to lack of ridership.

Route 121 was replaced by SEPTA's Route 92 in October 1982. This service continues to operate today. Since ridership on the Route 120 was strong it continued to operate under the operations of Reeder's Inc. even after SEPTA pulled the funding source. Krapf purchased the Reeder's operation in 1992 and designated the remaining (West Chester to Coatesville) bus route as Krapf Transit "Route A". Route 205 (Paoli Station to Chesterbrook) was formerly operated by Krapf until late 2019, when it was merged into SEPTA's own Route 206 (Paoli Station to Great Valley).


A SEPTA Silverliner IV at Fern Rock Transportation Center in the Fern Rock section of Philadelphia.

(Dough4872, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Railroad Division

Main article: see SEPTA Regional Rail

The Railroad Division operates 13 commuter railroad routes that begin in Center City Philadelphia and radiate outwards, terminating in intra-city, suburban and out-of-state locations.

This division is the descendant of the six electrified commuter lines of the Reading Company (RDG), the six electrified commuter lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR, later Penn Central: PC), and the new airport line constructed by the City of Philadelphia between 1974 and 1984.

With the construction and opening of the Center City Commuter Connection Tunnel in 1984, lines were paired such that a former Pennsylvania Railroad line was coupled with a former Reading line. Seven such pairings were created and given route designations numbered R1 through R8 (with R4 not used). As a result, the routes were originally designed so that trains would proceed from one outlying terminal to Center City, stopping at 30th Street Station, Suburban Station and Jefferson, formerly Market East Station, then proceed out to the other outlying terminal assigned to the route. Since ridership patterns have changed since the implementation of this plan, SEPTA removed the R-numbers from the lines in July 2010 and instead refers to the lines by the names of their termini.

The out-of-state terminals offer connections with other transit agencies. The Trenton Line offers connections in Trenton, New Jersey to NJ Transit (NJT) or Amtrak for travel to New York City. Plans exist to restore NJT service to West Trenton, New Jersey, thus offering a future alternate to New York via the West Trenton Line and NJT. Another plan offers a connection for travel to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. via MARC, involving extensions of the SEPTA Wilmington/Newark Line from Newark, Delaware, an extension of MARC's Penn service from Perryville, Maryland, or both.


A rendering of CRRC Bi-Level cars.

(Railway, Fair use, Title 17, Section 107)


Termination of CRRC Contract

In April of 2024, after four years of delays, poor workmanship and quality controls and no deliveries, SEPTA terminated a $185 million contract with Chinese SOE (state-owned enterprise) CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corp.) for 45 bilevel railcars for the agency’s Regional Rail lines. SEPTA had already paid $50 million to CRRC.


A silver subway train leaving the station.

A SEPTA ADTranz M-4 at the 52nd Street Station.

(AEMoreira042281, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Connecting transit agencies in the Philadelphia region

Local services

The PATCO Speedline is a rapid transit line that runs from Center City Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey and terminates in Lindenwold, New Jersey. At the 8th Street station, passengers can transfer to the Market–Frankford Line and Broad–Ridge Spur with an additional transfer fare. Paid transfers are also available at PATCO's 12th–13th Street station and 15th–16th Street station with SEPTA's Broad Street Line Walnut–Locust station. The PATCO Speedline crosses over the Delaware River via the Ben Franklin Bridge. It is owned by the Delaware River Port Authority.

In the western Philadelphia suburbs, Krapf's Transit runs regularly scheduled buses for the TMACC between Coatesville and Parkesburg and between West Chester, Pennsylvania West Chester and Oxford. Krapf's also provides contract services to SEPTA on route 204. They also operate a free express shuttle bus from Center City to the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia as well as a free shuttle bus loop within the Navy Yard itself.

In King of Prussia, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association runs a community shuttle, the Rambler, which connects with SEPTA at the King of Prussia Transit Center.

In the northwestern Philadelphia suburbs, Pottstown Area Rapid Transit (PART) pperates five bus routes in Pottstown and the neighboring townships of Douglass, Limerick, Lower Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove, and West Pottsgrove in Montgomery County and North Coventry Township in Chester County. PART and SEPTA have an agreement allowing transfers between PART service and SEPTA Route 93 buses in Pottstown.


Regional services

NJ Transit runs buses from Philadelphia to various New Jersey points. Many NJT buses stop at the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal, which is immediately north of Jefferson Station or at other locations in Center City Philadelphia. NJT also operates the River Line light rail line between Camden and Trenton, the Northeast Corridor Line between Trenton and New York, and the Atlantic City Line between 30th Street Station and Atlantic City. Both the Northeast Corridor Line and River Line connect with SEPTA's Regional Rail Trenton Line at the Trenton Transit Center. SEPTA Route 127 connects with NJT bus and rail services here also.

DART First State provides bus service in Delaware. This service connects with SEPTA's Wilmington/Newark Line Regional Rail service in Wilmington, Delaware, and Newark, Delaware. In 2007, SEPTA bus Route 306 began service, connecting the Great Valley Corporate Center and West Chester with the Brandywine Town Center; service between West Chester and Brandywine Town Center was discontinued in 2010 due to low ridership. In February 2009, SEPTA bus Route 113 commenced connecting bus service with DART at the Tri-State Mall, allowing service between Delaware County and Delaware, and connecting with DART First State's No. 13 and No. 61 bus at the Tri-State Mall. The transfer point at the Tri-State Mall was moved in 2023 to the Claymont Transportation Center.


National and international services

Amtrak provides rail service between 30th Street Station and Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Chicago to the west, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to the southwest, and New York City, Boston, and Montreal to the northeast. SEPTA's Wilmington/Newark Line and Trenton Line run along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line runs along the far eastern leg of Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line and Keystone Corridor.

All Regional Rail routes stop at 30th Street Station's upper platform. It is a short walk down a ramp to Amtrak's gates. Other shared Amtrak/Regional Rail stations include Wilmington and Newark on the Wilmington/Newark Line, Ardmore, Paoli, Exton, and Downingtown on the Paoli/Thorndale Line, and Trenton on the Trenton Line. Amtrak also offers limited service from North Philadelphia and Cornwells Heights, which are also on Trenton Line. Amtrak is faster than SEPTA, but significantly more expensive, particularly for services along the Northeast Corridor.

Greyhound and a variety of interregional bus operators, most of which are part of the Trailways system, stop at the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal. In addition to being adjacent to Jefferson Station, the terminal is one block from the Market–Frankford Line's 11th Street station and various SEPTA bus routes. Major destinations served with one-seat rides to and from the terminal include Allentown, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Newark, New York City, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington. Six NJ Transit bus routes (313, 315, 316, 317, 318, and 551) originate and terminate from this terminal.

SEPTA serves Philadelphia International Airport with local bus service and with the Airport Line from Center City.


Geographically-accurate map of SEPTA and connecting rail transit services. Includes Regional Rail, rapid transit, and selected interurban and suburban trolley lines.

Does not include SEPTA's subway-surface lines or Girard streetcar.

(Lucius Kwok, CC BY 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Additional Information

For more information see the SEPTA article on Wikipedia.


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Overview

Area served: Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley, including New Castle County, Delaware, and South Jersey
Locale: Delaware Valley
Transit type: Commuter rail, light rail, trolleys, rapid transit, trolley bus, transit bus
Number of lines: 196
Number of stations: 290
Daily ridership: 450,000
Annual ridership: 223.5 million (2020)
Chief executive: Leslie Richards (General Manager)
Headquarters: 1234 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Began operation: November 1, 1965
Number of vehicles: 2,897 (2018)