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Philadelphia is home to some of the most diverse public transit options in the United States.  The primary transit operator in the area is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA).  SEPTA, the 6th largest transit operator in the US in terms of ridership, operates an extensive commuter rail system (known as the regional rail), two subway lines, trolleys (including refurbished PCC units), trackless trolleys, and one of the largest bus fleets in the country.  This diversity came about as a result of the lines forming SEPTA today originally being privately owned transit companies in the past, and SEPTA’s operational organizational structure continues to reflect that history.

In addition, the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) operates a single heavy-rail line between Center City Philadelphia and Lindenwold, NJ via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Camden, NJ.  PATCO continues to run its original rolling stock, dating back to 1968.  It was one of the first transit systems in the US to use automatic train operation, and is one of the few transit lines in the nation to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Although PATCO and SEPTA do not share a fare and ticketing system, the PATCO line is shown on SEPTA maps.

SEPTA Regional Rail Rolling Stock

SEPTA operates 13 regional rail (commuter rail) branches, all of which were inherited from the former Pennsylvania and Reading railroads. Most trains are operated with EMU trains (Silverliner IV and Silverliner V models) but a few rush hour express trains use push-pull equipment.

SEPTA Regional Rail Stations

SEPTA has a variety of regional rail stations, varying from small, unstaffed, low platforms to multi-track, high level platforms with multiple boarding locations in Center City Philadelphia

SEPTA Market-Frankford Line

The Market-Frankford Line runs east-west along Market Street and then heads north-south along Frankford Avenue. The line is elevated, except for the section in Center City Philadelphia, which is underground. The Market-Frankford Line is SEPTA's busiest, accounting for about 25 percent of the system's daily ridership each day

SEPTA Broad Street Line

SEPTA's Broad Street Line operates directly below Broad Street for much of its length, with a spur along Ridge Avenue to 8th & Market. The BSL is one of two lines in the United States outside of the New York City metropolitan area to feature local and express tracks for much of its length.

SEPTA Norristown High Speed Line

SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line (formerly Route 100) is a unique operation featuring a grade separated right-of-way, high level platforms, frequent stops akin to a light rail line, on board fare collection, and mostly single unit trains

SEPTA Subway-Surface Trolleys

The subway-surface trolleys are routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36. They operate from a fleet of 112 SE LRV cars, manufactured by Kawasaki in 1981 and operate from the Elmwood and Callowhill Depots. The lines operate underground in Center City Philadelphia but on the surface as trolley cars in West Philadelphia.

SEPTA Suburban Trolley Division

The Suburban Trolley Division operates Route 101 from 69th Street Terminal to Media and Route 102 from 69th Street Terminal to Sharon Hill. The routes use a fleet of 29 DE LRVs manufactured by Kawasaki in 1981. While these cars appear similar to those on the Subway-Surface Lines, these are double ended and use pantographs instead of trolley poles.

SEPTA PCC-II Trolley Cars

In 2005, SEPTA restored trolley service on Route 15 along Girard Avenue after a 13 year suspension. The service operates with restored PCC-II trolley cars that were originally manufactured in 1947.


SEPTA operates a fleet of approximately 1400 buses based at 9 depots across the Philadelphia area. Buses have been purchased from a variety of manufacturers, including Neoplan, New Flyer, and NovaBUS.


For 4 dollars, one can board PHLASH buses an unlimited number of times all day and ride to major attractions in Center City Philadelphia such as Independence Mall, the Franklin Institute, the Art Museum, Penn's Landing, and the zoo.


The PATCO Speedline runs between Center City Philadelphia and Lindenwold, NJ via Camden, NJ. The heavy rail line is one of very few in the US to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its fleet of railcars, originally built in the 1960s and among the first in the nation to use automatic train control, is currently being overhauled by Alstom.