AskDefine | Define septa

Dictionary Definition



1 (anatomy) a dividing partition between two tissues or cavities
2 a partition or wall especially in an ovary [also: septa (pl)]septa See septum

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of septum

Extensive Definition

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional quasi-public state agency that operates various forms of public transit — bus, subway and elevated rail, regional rail, light rail, and electric trolley bus — that serve 3.8 million people in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. SEPTA also manages construction projects that repair, replace, and expand infrastructure and rolling stock.
SEPTA serves the combined city and county of Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Chester County. SEPTA also serves New Castle County in Delaware, and Mercer County in New Jersey.
SEPTA has the fifth-largest transit system in the United States, with 280 active stations, over 450 miles of track, 2,295 revenue vehicles, 196 routes, and about 306.9 million annual unlinked trips. Average weekday ridership across the system is about 1,000,000 passengers. SEPTA also manages Shared-Ride services in Philadelphia and ADA services across the region. These services are operated by third-party contractors.
SEPTA employs more than 9,000 people. Its headquarters is located at 1234 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia.



SEPTA was created by Pennsylvania state charter on August 17, 1963, to coordinate government subsidies to various transit and railroad companies in southeastern Pennsylvania.
On November 1, 1965, SEPTA absorbed two predecessor agencies:
  • The Passenger Service Improvement Corporation (PSIC), which 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), created on 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 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.


SEPTA acquired the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) on September 30, 1968, which included bus, trolley, and trackless trolley routes, and the Market-Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line in the City of Philadelphia. This became the City Transit Division. (Established as the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company in 1907 by the merger of a group of then independent transit companies operating within the city and its environs, the system became the PTC in 1940.)
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 (Route 100), 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. In 1976, SEPTA acquired the Schuylkill Valley Lines, which is today the Frontier Division.

2005 Strike

SEPTA's contracts with its transit operators expired in April and May, 2005. The Transport Workers Union Local 234 and the United Transportation Union Local 1594 set a strike deadline effective October 31, 2005 at 12:01 am. The reason the strike occurred was due to disagreement between SEPTA management and union leadership regarding employees' contributions to healthcare.
Before the strike, SEPTA tried to negotiate with the union, offering them a new deal whereby SEPTA union employees would pay 5% of their salary towards healthcare costs. The SEPTA union refused the offer, arguing that when cost of living increases and inflation are factored in, its members would actually make less money than before. Negotiators walked out of contract negotiations minutes before that deadline when they failed to come to a conclusion. SEPTA management was not required to pay any of their own healthcare costs. It is also noted that because of overhead, SEPTA has as many middle management jobs as it has union jobs. This could be a result of nepotism and patronage.
All employees in the City, Victory, and Frontier Divisions walked off the job, resulting in a complete suspension of service on all bus, trolley, and subway lines. Service on the regional rail division continued according to contingency plans, with service added to certain stations to help transport displaced city and suburban division passengers. This work stoppage stranded approximately 400,000 riders daily, impacting around 1,000,000 rides daily, forcing commuters to car-pool, walk, or arrange other alternative methods of transportation. In addition, over 27,000 public school students who receive free or subsidized transit tokens were forced to miss school completely or have their days cut short due to transportation issues.
In the early morning of November 7, 2005, a preliminary agreement had been reached between SEPTA management and union leadership. Service on all affected transit lines was fully restored by the late afternoon. This agreement was due in large part to the intervention by former Philadelphia mayor, and current Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell.

Transfer Disputes

In 2007, as part of a new budget-balancing proposal, SEPTA proposed eliminating bus transfers. This would have resulted in an 80% fare increase for many riders. Because SEPTA has been unable to provide a statistical need for the elimination, they have been forced to hold off.

Retired Bus Fleet as of Feb. 2008


Neoplan Order History

In 1982, SEPTA made its largest-ever order of buses: the Neoplan USA order, which was at the time also the company's largest order. Over the years, these buses have made their way all around the system. SEPTA changed their specifications on their new bus order each year. The Neoplan AK’s (8285-8413) which was SEPTA’s first order of Neoplans had longitudinal seating: all their seats face towards the aisle. However, their suburban counterparts (8411-8434) had longitudinal seating only in the rear of the bus. The back door has a wheelchair ramp, which forced SEPTA to limit their use and specify wheelchair-lift operations on their next order of coaches. These units also sported a nine-liter 6v92 engine and Allison HT-740 transmission.
By the early 1990s, SEPTA had 1,092 Neoplan An440 coaches in active service, making the Philadelphia operation the largest transportation authority in North America with the fleet mainly manufactured by Neoplan USA. These buses dominated the streets of Philadelphia through late 1997, when the earlier fleet of AK/BD (8285-8581) was replaced by the 40-foot version of the NABI SEPTA.


SEPTA is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors.
  • The City of Philadelphia appoints two members: one by the Mayor, the other by the President of the Philadelphia City Council. The representatives from Philadelphia can veto any item that comes before the full board due to a formula based on population and ridership that only applies to the City of Philadelphia; the veto may be overridden by the full board within 30 days.
  • Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County appoint two members each. These members are appointed by the County Commissioners in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery County and by the County Council in Delaware County.
  • The majority and minority leaders of the two houses of the Pennsylvania State Legislature (the Senate and the House of Representatives) appoint one member each, for a total of four members.
The day-to-day operations of SEPTA are handled by the General Manager, who is appointed and hired by the Board of Directors. The General Manager is assisted by nine department heads called Assistant General Managers.
The present General Manager is Joseph M. Casey, who had served as the authority's Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer until his appointment in 2008. Past General Managers include Faye L. M. Moore, Joseph T. Mack, John "Jack" Leary, Lou Gambaccini, and David L. Gunn. Past acting General Managers include James Kilcur and Bill Stead.

Routes and ridership

Rapid transit

  • Market–Frankford Line (Blue Line): subway and elevated line from the Frankford Transportation Center (rebuilt in 2003) in the Frankford section of Philadelphia to 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, via Center City Philadelphia. Weekday ridership averaged 178,715 in 2006.
  • Broad Street Line and Broad–Ridge Spur (Orange Line): subway line along Broad Street in Philadelphia from Fern Rock Transportation Center to Pattison Avenue/Sports Complex, via Center City Philadelphia. Weekday ridership averaged 114,816 in 2006.

Trolley and light rail

  • Subway–Surface Trolley Lines (Green Line): five trolley routes - 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 - that run in a subway in Center City and fan out along on street-level trolley tracks in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Daily ridership averaged 55,463 in 2006.
  • Route 100 (Norristown High-Speed Line): formerly known as the Philadelphia & Western (P&W) Railroad, this interurban rapid transit is considered a light rail line. Daily ridership averaged 8,801 in 2006.
  • Routes 101 and 102 (Suburban Trolley Lines): two trolley routes in Delaware County which run mostly on private rights-of-way but also have some street running. Daily ridership averaged 7,132 in 2006.
  • Routes 15, 23, and 56: Three surface trolley routes that were "temporarily" suspended in 1992. Routes 23 and 56 are currently operated with buses. Trolley service on Route 15 resumed as of September 2005. Route 23 has long been SEPTA's most heavily traveled surface route, with daily ridership averaging 20,113 in 2006.
  • Trackless trolley (Trolleybus): As of 2008, all five of SEPTA's trackless trolley routes are operated with buses. Routes 29, 59, 66, 75, and 79 were run with trackless trolleys until diesel buses replaced them in 2002 and 2003. There are plans to acquire new trackless trolley vehicles and resume trackless trolley operations on the 59, 66, and 75. The first pilot trackless trolley arrived in June 2007. Trackless trolley operation resumed on route 66 on May 21, 2008.


SEPTA lists 121 bus routes, not including over 50 school trips, with most routes in the City of Philadelphia proper. Currently, SEPTA generally employs lettered, one and two-digit route numbering for its City Division routes, 90-series and 100-series numbers routes for its Victory ("Red Arrow") Division (Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties) and its Frontier Division (Montgomery and Bucks Counties), 200-series routes for its Regional Rail connector routes (Routes 201, 204, 205 and 206 in Montgomery & Chester Counties), 300-series routes for other specialized and/or third-party contract routes, and 400-series routes for limited service buses to schools within the city of Philadelphia.

Commuter rail

SEPTA's commuter rail service is run by the SEPTA Regional Rail division. This division operates 13 lines serving more than 150 stations covering most of the five county southeastern Pennsylvania region. It also runs trains to Newark, Delaware, Trenton, New Jersey, and West Trenton, New Jersey. Daily ridership averaged over 100,000 in 2006, with 1/3 of ridership on the R5 route between Thorndale, Paoli, Lansdale, and Doylestown.

SEPTA 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.

City Transit Division

The City Transit Division operates routes mostly within the City of Philadelphia, including buses, subway-surface trolleys, the Market-Frankford Line, and the Broad Street Line. Some of its routes extend into Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties. This division is the descendant of the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC). There are seven depots in this division: five of these depots only operate buses, one is a mixed bus/streetcar depot, one is a streetcar-only facility.
Bus and trackless trolley routes
  • Callowhill Depot (buses and streetcars)
  • Elmwood Depot (streetcars only)
  • Frankford Depot (buses and trackless trolleys; as of 2008, trackless trolley routes run with diesel buses)
  • Comly Depot (buses only)
  • Midvale Depot (buses only)
  • Allegheny Depot (articulated buses only)
  • Southern Depot (buses only. SEPTA Voted to not have the trackless trolley's return to South Philly)
  • Germantown Depot (buses only/contract operations)
For latest info on Garages

Suburban Division

Victory District

The Victory District operates suburban bus and trolley (or light rail) routes that are based at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby in Delaware County. Its routes include the Norristown High Speed Line (Route 100) light rail line that runs from 69th Street Terminal to Norristown 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. Most 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. SEPTA began operating the Bucks County routes in the 1980s.

Suburban contract operations

Regional Rail division

The Regional Rail Division (RRD) operates 13 commuter railroad routes that begin in Central 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 Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR, later Penn Central: PC) railroads, 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 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, numerous exceptions exist, e.g. R6 Cynwyd line trains from Cynwyd terminate at Suburban station and do not proceed to Norristown, while R6s from Norristown often continue through center city as R2s.
The out-of-state terminals offer connections (and potential connections) with other transit agencies. For example, the R7 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 R3 West Trenton line and NJT. Another plan offers a connection for travel to Baltimore and Washington DC via MARC, involving extensions of the SEPTA R2 from Newark, Delaware, an extension of MARC's Penn service from Perryville MD, or both.
SEPTA's railroad reporting mark SPAX can be seen on non-revenue work equipment including boxcars, diesel locomotives, and other rolling stock.

SEPTA roster



Light Rail

Regional Rail

!Tare(Ton/t) !Seats !Remarks |- |1963 |Budd |Silverliner II |201-209, 211-219,251-264, 266-269,9001-9017 |54 of 56 active |624 |50.7/46.1 |124-127 |200 series cars are former Pennsylvania Railroad cars. 9000 series cars are former Reading Railroad cars. |- |1967 |St. Louis Car |Silverliner III |220-223, 225-239 |19 of 20 active |624 |50.7/46.1 |122 (232-239 seat 90) |Former Pennsylvania Railroad cars used on what is now the Keystone Service. These cars have left-side cabs, instead of standard right-side cabs. |- |1975 |GE |Silverliner IV |101-188, 306-399,417-460 (married pairs)276-305, 400-416(single cars) |231 of 232 active |Not known |62.5/56.8 |125 |400-series units are cars renumbered from lower series or from Reading Railroad cars 9018-9031 when PCB transformers were replaced with silicone transformers. |- |1987 |EMD |AEM7 |2301-2307 |7 |7,000 |101/91.9 |Loco-motive |Locomotives for push-pull trains |- |1987 |Bombardier |Comet II |2401-2410 (cab cars)2501-2516 (trailer) |10 cab cars25 trailers |Push-pull |50/45.4 |118(cab cars)131(trailers) |Push-pull coaches hauled by locomotives. |- |1996 |ABB |ALP-44 |2308 |1 |7000 |99.2/90.2 |Loco-motive |Locomotive for push-pull trains. Delivered as a result of a settlement for late delivery of N-5 cars. |- |2000 |Bombardier |Shoreliner III |2550-2559 |10 trailers |Push pull |50/45.4 |117 |These cars have a center door, and are used in push-pull service. |- |2007- |Rotem |Silverliner V |Numbers not yet known |120 |Not known |62.5/56.8 |110 |Replacements for Budd and St. Louis Car railcars. |}

Maintenance of way vehicles

  • C-145 snow sweeper 1923
  • Harsco Track Technologies Corporation work car
  • PCC work car 2194
  • SEPTA Railroad OPS-3161 work car
  • W-56 work Car
  • W-61 work Car
  • 1033-1034 Market Frankford line Work Cars

Maintenance facilities

  • 69th Street Yard (Market-Frankford Line)
  • Allegheny Depot (City Transit Division/Bus)
  • Berridge Shops (formerly Wyoming Shops) (Bus Maintenance and Overhauls)
  • Callowhill Depot (City Transit Division/Bus and Streetcar)
  • Comly Depot (City Transit Division/Bus)
  • Elmwood Depot (City Transit Division/Streetcar)
  • Fern Rock Yard (Broad Street Line)
  • Frankford Depot (City Transit Division/Bus)
  • Frazer Yard (Regional Rail Push and Pull sets)
  • Frontier Depot (Suburban Transit Division/Bus)
  • Germantown Brakes Maintenance Facility (Bus Maintenance/Contract Operations)
  • Midvale Depot (City Transit Division/Bus)
  • Overbrook Maintenance Facility (Regional Rail)
  • Powelton Yard (Regional Rail)
  • Roberts Yard (Regional Rail)
  • Southern Depot (City Transit Division/Bus)
  • Woodland Maintenance Facility (Streetcar Overhaul and Repairs)
  • Victory Depot (69th Street) (Suburban Transit Division/Bus and Rail)
  • Bridge Street Yard (Market-Frankford Line)

Upcoming purchase

SEPTA has made a purchase to buy 400 New Flyer Hybrid buses to replace the Nabi Ikarus buses in their 12 year life span. A pilot bus is scheduled to be delivered in March of 2008 and a production bus in July of 2008. SEPTA has also gone with the decision to purchase 38 Trackless Trolleys from New Flyer to replace routes 29, 59, 66, 75, and 79 from a long "bustitution." There may be a chance that SEPTA will restore routes 29 and 79 down in South Philadelphia. Another future plan is to purchase 120 silverliner V's made and manufactured by Rotem. They will sport one double door and one single door that will not be at the ends of each vehicles. The Silverliner V's will replace the aging Silverliner II's and III's. Rotem announced that they will build a factory in south Philadelphia to manufacture the future order of trains in Philadelphia and the trains that will be ordered later on form other transit agencies around the US. Routes 29 and 79 will not be restored.

Connecting transit agencies in the Philadelphia region

Local services
Regional services
National services


SEPTA has been one of one of the most vocal proponents of removing the $1 bill from circulation in favor of the $1 coin.
The Philadelphia-based synth-pop musician Atom and His Package wrote a song entitled "Head of Septa, Nose of Me" about his belief that SEPTA was not responsive to him after he injured his nose inside a SEPTA station. The song appears on the album Making Love.
Philadelphia-based band The American Dream ( wrote the song "Frankford El" on their self-titled album in the late 1960s. The refrain went You can't get to Heaven on the Frankford El, 'cause the Frankford El goes straight to Frankford, and the second refrain went You can't get to Heaven on the Frankford El, 'cause the Frankford El goes straight to Hell.
Philadelphia-based concert-booking organization R5 Productions take their name from the R5 Regional Rail line.
A Red SEPTA bus can be seen in the Philadelphia level in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. On the PC version, it can also be seen in the unlockable THPS1 San Francisco level, as well as the hidden test level Freeway, in which the bus rises up out of the ground and floats away into the heavens.

External links

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1