PATCO marks 50th anniversary Friday with original fares from 1969

Mike DeNardo
February 14, 2019 - 4:00 am
PATCO is giving facelifts this year to its three most-used stations.

Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The PATCO High Speed Line turns 50 years old Friday, and riders are getting its birthday present.

For a few hours, PATCO will roll back fares during Friday's morning rush.

"We are going to charge our customers the same fares that were charged 50 years ago."

PATCO General Manager John Rink said a ride from Lindenwold to Philly will cost 60 cents, instead of its current rate of $3. A $1.40 trip over the bridge Thursday from Camden City Hall will cost only 30 cents come Friday, between 6 and 11 a.m.  

The Delaware River Port Authority estimates the "flashback fares" will cost it about $20,000 in revenue.

"We wanted our customers to enjoy the flashback fares. You see a lot of people do the flashbacks, and we wanted to thank them for their loyal ridership," he added.

And between 7 and 9 a.m., riders can pick up a piece of 1969 nostalgia.

"We printed out ... the original timetable, and we're going to hand it out to our customers," he said.

PATCO started service with eight New Jersey stations. Woodcrest in Cherry Hill was added in 1980, and Rink said some riders are joking that their fares Friday should be rolled back to zero.

"Some of the people tweeting say, 'We should ride for free from Woodcrest because it didn't exist then, so how are you going to roll back the fares if the station wasn't there?' " he said.

The Speedline started with a fleet of 75 Budd-manufactured cars and added 56 Vickers cars over the years. All but four of those cars are back in service after a multi-year overhaul that saw those green and mustard-yellow seats replaced with modern gray-blue ones.

PATCO carried 6 million passengers in 1969. Ridership peaked at 11.5 million in 1976, with current ridership around 10.8 million a year.