(Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority)
(some routes in Chester Co. contracted)
|Track gauge||4 ft 81⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
5 ft 21⁄4 in (1,581 mm)
5 ft 21⁄2 in (1,588 mm)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional municipal authority 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 6th-largest U.S. transit system by ridership, with about 306.9 million annual unlinked trips. It controls 280 active stations, over 450 miles of track, 2,295 revenue vehicles, and 196 routes. SEPTA also manages Shared-Ride services in Philadelphia and ADA services across the region. These services are operated by third-party contractors.
SEPTA is one of only two U.S. transit agencies that operates all of the five major types of transit vehicles: regional (commuter) rail trains, "heavy" rapid transit (subway/elevated) trains, light rail vehicles (trolleys), electric trolleybuses and motor buses. The other is Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (which runs ferryboat service as well).
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:
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.
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 transit operations of Schuylkill Valley Lines, which is today the Frontier Division.
On June 1, 1998 the Transport Workers Union initiated a strike that would not end for 40 days on July 10. This was the seventh strike since 1975.
SEPTA's contracts with its transportation employees in the City, Victory, and Frontier Divisions expired in April and May 2005. After working without a contract for the next few months, the Transport Workers Union Local 234 and the United Transportation Union Local 1594 set a final deadline of October 31, 2005 at 12:01 AM, at which point the unions would strike if a new deal was not reached. The main disagreement between SEPTA management and union leadership was regarding employees' contributions to their health insurance premiums.
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 unions refused the offer, arguing that when cost of living increases and inflation were factored in, its members would actually make less money than they had before. Negotiators walked out of contract negotiations minutes before the 12:01 AM deadline when they failed to reach an agreement.
Shortly after midnight on the morning of October 31, the unions called a strike. 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 carpool, 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 was reached between SEPTA management and union leadership, ending the strike. 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.
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. 
SEPTA's contracts with its transportation employees in the City, Victory and Frontier Divisions expired in March and April 2009. On October 25, 2009, the Transport Workers Union Local 234 voted for SEPTA to go on strike at 12:01 AM by October 31, 2009, if no new contract deal was made. The strike was initially averted after Governor Ed Rendell threatened to cut state funding should the strike occur. Another reason the strike was postponed was due to the 2009 World Series games being hosted by the Philadelphia Phillies.
However, at 3:00 AM on November 3, 2009, TWU 234 surprised the public by officially going on strike without notice. On the subject of the hardships imposed by the surprise strike on Philadelphians, Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234, said "I understand I'm the most hated man in Philadelphia right now. I have no problem with that". Victory Division service was not affected by the SEPTA 2009 Strike, but buses operated on temporary changes, including the temporary discontinuation of route 116. On, November 4, 2009, TWU 234 strikers blocked buses from leaving Victory Depot and SEPTA's 69th St Terminal, letting one out every 40 minutes.
SEPTA was offering an 11.5% increase over five years. That included no raise in the first year, although workers would have received a $1,250 signing bonus. 
This strike ended on November 9, 2009 at 12:45 am, with service gradually restored beginning 4am.
SEPTA is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors.
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 as General Manager 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.
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.
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.
Most of the cars used on the lines range in vintage from 1963 to 1976. New Silverliner V cars have been ordered  but delivery dates remain uncertain  due to production delays. The first test cars were to have been delivered in April 2009, however the delivery date has been delayed. The first cars will now not be delivered until 2010, with the full order to remain unfilled until 2011—barring additional delays.
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.
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: four of these depots only operate buses, one is a mixed bus/trackless trolley depot, one is a mixed bus/streetcar depot, one is a streetcar-only facility.
Bus and trackless trolley routes
Light rail routes
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."
Light rail routes
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.
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. 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.
In 1982, SEPTA made its largest-ever order of buses: the Neoplan USA order, which was at the time also that company's largest order. Over the years, these buses have made their way all around the system. SEPTA changed its specifications on new bus orders each year. The Neoplan AK’s (8285–8410), which were SEPTA’s first order of Neoplans, had longitudinal seating: all of 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 the authority's next order of coaches. These units also sported a nine-liter 6v92 engine and Allison HT-740 transmission.
In 1983, SEPTA would join forces with other transit operators in Pennsylvania in an order of 1000 buses from Neoplan of various lengths. SEPTA would ultimately receive 450 of these buses, of which 425 were 40-foot buses (8435-8584 and 8601-8875), which came without wheelchair lifts, and 25 buses that were 35 foot buses (1301-1325).
In 1986, SEPTA would buy more Neoplans on its own, and these began to arrive in early 1987. The first two groups (3000-3131 and 3132-3251) came without wheelchair lifts, but the last two groups, the first arriving in late 1987 (3252-3371), and a second group that arrived in 1989 (3372-3491), would have rear wheelchair lifts. All Neoplans built between 1986 and 1989 were equipped with a ZF 5HP-590 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 a fleet mainly manufactured by Neoplan USA. These buses dominated the streets of Philadelphia through late 1997, when the earlier fleet of AK/BD Neoplans (8285–8581) was replaced by a series of 400 buses built by North American Bus Industries (NABI). More retirements occurred as SEPTA received its low-floor fleet, with the last ones retired in June 2008.
The Neoplan model has not entirely vanished from Philadelphia's streets, since SEPTA contracted with Neoplan in 1998 to build a fleet of 155 articulated buses, the first of which began to arrive in late 1999. By the summer of 2000, all were in service.
As part of the procurement process that produced the articulated buses, SEPTA also went into smaller buses. This was manifested in an order of 80 buses from National-Eldorado (4501-4580), the first of which began to arrive in late 2000. Most of these buses are on suburban routes, but a group of them is in use in the "LUCY" service in the University City section of West Philadelphia, in a special paint scheme, and a number of them are on lighter lines within Philadelphia.
Also, a group of buses called "cutaways" was purchased. These buses were built on Ford van chassis, with bodies similar to those seen on car rental shuttles at various airports. These buses were retired around 2003 and replaced with slightly larger cutaway buses on a Freightliner truck chasis.
The last, which has steered SEPTA into a new era, was the low-floor bus. After evaluating sample buses in the 1995-96 period from New Flyer and NovaBus, an order was placed with New Flyer for 100 low-floor buses (5401-5500). A pilot bus arrived in January 2001, and production models arrived in the autumn of 2001. More purchases arrived from 2002 to 2005, with the 2002-2004 buses being numbered 5501-5600, 5613-5830, and 5851-5950. The 2005 arrivals were numbered 8000-8119, these numbers presumably chosen so as not to run into the 6000's, which had been reserved for an order of commuter coaches from Motor Coach Industries that SEPTA eventually did not pursue.
SEPTA has placed an order for 400 New Flyer hybrid buses - with options for up to 80 additional buses - to replace the NABI Ikarus buses at the end of their 12-year life span. These will not be the first hybrid buses, since SEPTA purchased two small groups of hybrids, 5601H-5612H, which arrived in 2003, and 5831H-5850H, which came in 2004. Before the 2008 purchase, SEPTA would borrow an MTA New York City Transit Orion hybrid to evaluate it in service. While in use for SEPTA, it bore the number 3999. After evaluation, it resumed its New York identity. The first of these hybrids arrived in late 2008, and by early spring 2009, all were in service. SEPTA was the first to purchase New Flyer DE40LFs equipped with roof-top HVAC units. Recently it had been confirmed by different sources that the next batch of hybrids for SEPTA will be New Flyer DE40LFRs due to New Flyer discontinuing the LF series in 2009.
Although transit authorities earn revenue from advertisements placed on buses, SEPTA earns more advertising revenue from advertisements placed on the backs of its buses. As the result, SEPTA buses are mainly equipped with a roof-top HVAC, and with their rear route-number sign mounted close to the roof, so they can have the space for rear advertisements—especially on the 2008-2009 New Flyer DE40LFs and future orders.
One of SEPTA's articulated NEOPLAN AN460 buses
The new face of SEPTA's bus fleet which is the New Flyer D40LF.
One of SEPTA's New Flyer E40LFR trackless trolleys
The Broad Street Line uses cars built by Kawasaki between 1981 and 1983. These cars, known as B-IV as they are the fourth generation used on the line, are stainless steel and include some cars with operating cabs at both ends, as well as some with only a single cab.
The Market-Frankford Line uses a class of car known as M4s, built from 1996 to 1999 by Adtranz. These cars are built to the unusual broad gauge of 5 ft 21⁄2 in (1,588 mm), known as "Pennsylvania trolley gauge".
File:SEPTA LRVs at the maintenance facility, 1993.jpg|Single-end Kawasaki trolleys waiting in the yard in 1993. The vehicles used on SEPTA's Subway-Surface trolleys were built by Kawasaki in 1981. Known as "K-cars", they use the Pennsylvania trolley gauge of 5 ft 21⁄2 in (1,588 mm).
Uniquely, the Girard Street Line uses "PCC II" trolleys, originally built in 1947 by the St. Louis Car Company, which were rebuilt for the line's reopening in 2003 to include air conditioning. The line, like the Subway-Surface lines, is Pennsylvania trolley gauge.
The suburban trolley lines use Kawasaki-built vehicles similar to, but larger than, the Subway-Surface trolleys. They too are Pennsylvania trolley gauge. Notably, they are double ended, unlike the Subway-Surface trolleys, as the suburban lines lack any loops to turn the vehicles.
The Norristown High Speed Line uses a class of cars known as N-5s. They were delivered in 1993 by ABB after significant production delays. Unlike the rest of SEPTA's trolley lines, they are standard gauge.