Route 15 trolleys to be replaced by buses for next 18 months

John McDevitt
January 22, 2020 - 5:11 pm
SEPTA trolley car

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Starting Sunday, buses will replace historic trolleys on SEPTA's Route 15 line, which spans from Port Richmond to West Philadelphia. 

The trolleys will go offline for 18 months while they undergo maintenance and evaluation.

Sixty-two-year-old Roger Jones of West Philadelphia was waiting for the Route 15 trolley Wednesday at Girard Avenue and Front Street. He'll miss riding on the classic cars, but he said the trolleys do need upgrades.

“Before all of the construction, I liked to ride and see the scenery, because with the bus they go real fast. I would love to see them come back and also upgrade them a little bit, too,” he said. “Some of them are air conditioned, some of them are not.”

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Leslie Richards, general manager of SEPTA, agreed that the iconic green trolleys are in of need repairs.

“The trolleys are coming back, but we do need to take them off so that when we put them back on, they are all operating the way they should,” she explained.

The trolley upgrades will be done concurrently with PennDOT’s I-95 reconstruction project, which impacts a portion of Route 15.

“We are also going to take advantage of that time,” Richards said. The two agencies coordinated the timing together to avoid extra traffic disruptions.