Public Transportation in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the 5th most efficient public transportation system in the United States but has plans for an overall improvement of the system.  Some steps to move forward in public transportation include new Payment Technologies and Bike Share.  Following one of the most snowy winters, the public transportation system has received more attention than previous years. Suggestions for improvement have included giving SEPTA buses priority of the green light, stops at every other block and not every block, and adding more L shaped routes. While these suggestions may bring improvements to some communities, such as center city and University City, there are other factors to consider for the greater community.

And so we welcome Bike Share. The Bike Share originated in Europe and the adoption of this system in New York and Washington DC have proved to be effective. By 2015, Philadelphia Bike Share will include 60 stations and 600 bikes throughout the city. Bike share will be accessible in neighborhoods such as North Philadelphia. One of the initiatives’ priorities, according to Mayor Nutter, was to have accessibility for low-income families at an affordable cost.

Other suggestions for improvement of the public transportation system include having more bicycle racks throughout the city, having an equal representation for residents in regards to public transportation, minimizing the number of school buses by expanding public transportation to middle school students, and rewriting some major bus routes. The question remains: What does this 30 million dollar investment mean for the city of Philadelphia?  One consideration is jobs: how many jobs will be added and how many lost through these changes?  Another consideration is funding.  Funds for this project have been cause for delay, as the city has many priorities and especially that of the Philadelphia school system, so despite much conversation and planning, nothing has yet become a reality.

Should public transportation be given such priority, when it already ranks 5th in the nation? 

Learn about Philadelphia’s new technology for septa and bike share here:



Changing Skyline: SEPTA needs to solve bus ‘pass-up’ roulette – (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

Philadelphia Leaps to Number 3 In Transit Ridership, 8 Ways To Leap Higher | This Old City. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

Erica is a student in the MA in Urban Studies with a concentration in Community Development.  She is an alumni of Mission Year and began her studies at Eastern University fall 2013.

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