SEPTA releases RFP for trolley vehicles

May 13, 2022
This marks a major milestone for trolley modernization, one of SEPTA’s largest capital projects.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for modern, accessible trolley vehicles to replace the entire existing fleet of trolleys.

This begins the trolley vehicle acquisition process with manufacturers — a major step forward for Trolley Modernization.

Trolley Modernization is SEPTA’s program to transform its trolley network into an accessible, fast and easy-to-use system. It is a core component of SEPTA Forward, the authority’s strategic plan, to create a “lifestyle transit network” – a transit system that can be easily used for any type of trip, not just traditional 9-to-5 commutes to work.

“SEPTA is committed to ensuring our trolleys meet the needs of riders today and tomorrow,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are thrilled to start acquiring vehicles that open our trolley service to everyone.”

Together, SEPTA’s eight trolley lines run for 68 miles and connect communities in West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and Delaware County directly with the region’s two largest employment and healthcare centers, Center City and University City.

The current trolley vehicles have served riders since the 1980s. The new trolleys will be fully accessible to people with disabilities and have higher capacity to move more passengers. The new fleet will have low floors and ramps; wider pathways; audio and visual messaging systems to communicate upcoming stops and service changes; and designated open space for people with wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.

SEPTA is building on-street stations to serve the new trolleys and rebuilding underground stations to be fully accessible. The authority is also making significant operational and infrastructure improvements and extending some trolley lines to key locations to make connections to other SEPTA services easier. SEPTA is working on new and improved maintenance facilities to serve the new fleet.

Funding for Trolley Modernization comes from the recently released proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Budget and 12-Year Program, a record-breaking plan – the first to break the billion-dollar mark. In addition to Trolley Modernization, this Capital Program advances several other SEPTA Forward initiatives, such as Bus Revolution, King of Prussia Rail, station accessibility, and rail fleet replacements. These projects work together to promote and strengthen regional growth and connect people with opportunity.