UPDATE: SEPTA spokespeople have said that SEPTA is committed to restoring the Route 15 trolleys after some planned construction projects finish next year. We've been down this road before with other trolley routes though, so it's important to keep the pressure on and keep contacting your elected officials.
Read SEPTA's comments to Philly Mag, and WHYY's coverage of this issue. Original petition with updates is after the jump.
SEPTA is planning to pull the Route 15 trolleys from service at the end of January for planned construction projects, and due to deferred maintenance issues with 78% of the fleet. They now say they'll be bringing the PCCs back when construction is over—a very positive sign!—but there are still big questions that need to be answered.
Please sign and share this petition calling on SEPTA and local officials to commit to high-quality trolley service on Girard Ave!
5th Square has learned that a bridge replacement project on West Girard will require the trolleys to be replaced with buses for at least a year. But SEPTA’s maintenance crews have also been directed for years to defer maintenance on the trolleys, and with as much as 78% of the fleet expected to fail inspection, they’ll all be pulled off the road as of Sunday.
In the best-case scenario, SEPTA must repair the PCC trolleys and have them ready to go when the construction projects tying up trolley service are over.
SEPTA should also use this time to begin the long-awaited but unfunded Trolley Modernization project, which could bring modern, brand-new trolleys with full accessibility to Girard Ave. However, given the coincidental timing of these issues, it’s also easy for management to justify “temporarily suspending” trolley service indefinitely. This happened back in 1992 with the original Routes 15, 23, and 56, and it took 13 years and over $100 million for the Route 15 trolleys to come back. Routes 23 and 56 are still waiting.
While trolley modernization is a great idea on paper, it can’t go anywhere without a firm plan to buy new trolleys. Otherwise, the only option left is to gradually scrap the rest of them as they break down, including those in West Philly, leaving riders with slower and more crowded buses.
We need SEPTA, Mayor Kenney, and City Council members with Route 15 service (Darrell Clarke, Mark Squilla, Jamie Gauthier, Curtis Jones, and Bobby Henon) to support world-class trolley service that is fast, accessible, and environmentally sustainable. We also need our elected officials to leverage their control of City streets by putting transit riders first.
After you sign and share this petition, make sure to contact SEPTA and City Hall and demand (politely!) that they:
- Fix the PCC trolleys and perform the needed maintenance
- Immediately resume and maintain existing Route 15 trolleys after bridge replacement
- Support SEPTA’s trolley modernization project to the fullest extent
- Ensure frequent, uncrowded, and reliable bus service during substitution with active monitoring
If done right, SEPTA’s trolley modernization program can dramatically improve conditions for 2.5 million yearly Route 15 riders, and set the standard for future transit improvements in Philadelphia. Transit riders need your help! Contact SEPTA/City Hall and tell them you want them to fix the Route 15 trolleys!
Route 15 trolley supporters who are able to attend should also come to SEPTA's next Board meeting on January 23rd at 3 PM at the 1234 Market office, and call on the Board to commit to bringing back trolley service on Girard Ave. RSVP here and you'll receive an email with talking points and instructions for Thursday's meeting.
RSVP for Thursday's Board meeting: https://www.5thsq.org/save_our_route_15_trolleys_at_the_septa_board_meeting
Contact your representatives:
Council District 5 | http://phlcouncil.com/darrellclarke/ | (215) 686-3442
Council District 1 | http://phlcouncil.com/MarkSquilla/ | (215) 686-3458
Council District 3 | http://phlcouncil.com/JamieGauthier/ | (215) 686-0459
Council District 4 | http://phlcouncil.com/CurtisJonesJr/ | (215) 686-3416
Council District 6 | http://phlcouncil.com/BobbyHenon/ | (215) 686-3444