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Happy 60th Birthday SEPTA!

January 29, 2024

February 18 is a significant day for public transportation in Southeastern Pennsylvania! On that day - sixty years ago - SEPTA held its first organizational meeting which formed the beginnings of the transit system we all ride [and love] today!

For this noteworthy anniversary - we're celebrating with a series of how it started ... and how it's going pictures for the month of February. We want to take a look back at the history of public transportation in Philadelphia - which started long before SEPTA. The first trolleys arrived in Philadelphia in the 1890s! A few years later - in 1907 - the Market-Frankford Line began operating [although it wasn't until 1922 that it was extended to Frankford]. In October of 1923 - trackless trolleys first came to the city.

Not long after - the Broad Street Line was created. It opened in 1928 and traveled from City Hall to Olney Station. In 1938 - it was extended south to Snyder Station and in 1956 it was extended north to Fern Rock Transportation Center.

Over the coming decades - a number of private transit providers would pop up  competing for the same riders - resulting in a steady decline in the use of mass transit. 

With profits falling in the 1950s and 1960s, nearly bankrupt transit and rail companies were looking to exit the passenger business altogether. The need for government intervention and the establishment of a permanent body to run urban mass transit and coordinate regional service was apparent.

The problem was solved when the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority [now better known as SEPTA] was charged with the planning, development, and coordination of a regional transportation system for Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.

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

In 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 SEPTA is the nation's fifth largest transit system with a vast network of fixed route services including bus, subway, trolley, trackless trolley, and Regional Rail, as well as ADA paratransit and Shared Ride programs. SEPTA is also one of the region's largest employers - with a workforce of over 9,000 employees.

This month - we invite you to take place in our contest in honor of our 60th birthday! We're also giving away 60 COMMEMORATIVE TOTES to 60 SEPTA RIDERS! To enter to win - share your birthday wish for SEPTA!