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SEPTA plans rebranding, new labeling for urban rail lines

By | September 8, 2021

‘SEPTA Metro’ will use letter-and-color system to simplify use, emphasize full network

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SEPTA Metro logo
SEPTA Metro logo
The new “SEPTA Metro” logo. (SEPTA)

PHILADELPHIA — The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is proposing using a series of letters and colors to rename its urban rail system, to make it easier to use and emphasize the entire rail network rather than its individual elements.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the proposal would rebrand the network of rapid transit and trolley lines as “SEPTA Metro” under a Wayfinding Master Plan released Tuesday. SEPTA’s Regional Rail services are not part of the proposal and would continue to use that name.

The proposal includes use of a new “SEPTA Metro” variant of the agency’s current logo and improved signage at stations, which would use color-coded backgrounds with information on specific routes and white-on-black signs for system-wide messaging. The new labels are designed to help visitors, those with limited English proficiency, and those seeking accessible entrances and exits.

The program is projected to cost $40 million through the fiscal year ending in June 2023.

SEPTA’a announcement comes shortly after Seattle-area Sound Transit announced plans for a similar letter-and-color rebranding of its rail and bus rapid transit services [see “Sound Transit introduces new names …,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 1, 2021].

7 thoughts on “SEPTA plans rebranding, new labeling for urban rail lines

  1. Per my relatives in the greater Philly area (they all have moved out of the city), the area and especially the city has a growing number of non-English speaking residents and some of them don’t seem to be in any hurry to really learn it. Philadelphia itself is a sanctuary city with a significant Hispanic population. I’m guessing this change is probably city driven out of necessity.

  2. The circular logo reminds me of the red dot with the SEPTA “S” that I grew up with in the ’70’s. I do like the current red (Denver Bronco orange?), white and blue logo which is patriotic for the nation’s birthplace.

    Old timers will no doubt continue to say “I take the Broad Street Subway down to Pattison Av. to go to the game.”

    What I don’t like is the designation of the Media and Sharon Hill trolleys as the “Delaware Lines”. I’m sure some DelVal neophytes will think those routes go to the state of Delaware though we know they only go to Delco.

    As for Regional Rail, does anyone miss the “R [number]” designations? WTF did SEPTA drop those, other than to emulate other big city commuter rail systems? Did SEPTA conduct surveys?

  3. When visiting Philly I have to use maps; I regret not going more often in the late ’70’s early ’80’s but I was poorer then with More Important Things like the Lackawanna Electrics to go after. I would go by historical names so the Norristown Line was still the P&W and Media & Sharon Hill were the P&WC/Red Arrow. Bad enough when Reading Terminal closed as a rail station; took me years to get used to that but in 2013 I finally finished getting the entire Philly Commuter Rail network. (Yes, I DID get Lindenwold-Cape May the last weekend it ran in 1981!). Essentially no real reason to go to Philly anymore. But why 40 million? Car repainting? Does SEPTA or whatever it’s now called even print timetables? Why? It could be worse–Philly could see a George Floyd Line (Market-Frankford or Broad Street or Ridge Ave. Spur?–Don’t be gettin’ ideas, man!) or some local worthy–did 30th Street get renamed? You could get Boston’s problem of who was Zakim (a Newton worthy) or when South Station got renamed after Dukakis the residents who asked who was Dukakis vs. Those Trying to Forget Dukakis? OK so I’ll look at the proposal–will Trains allow me back in here?

  4. So I looked at the map proposal. Are you sure the city mapped on it is Philadelphia? It took me a while to find things–which will probably be true with users. Eastwick? Manayunk?–cut back, sorry. Delco? I thought that was a battery; until today I thought Delaware County was near the Catskills. Read “Meet SEPTA Metro” and weep. Explanations read like out of the movie “Idiocracy”; I guess people are that dumb. Philadelphia was a once-great city. Reading further there’s two years’ worth of expensive navel-gazing in it for the consultants. Bus Revolution–WHAT is that? Yes–Bus Revolution is THERE–go take a look at it, I’m NOT making this up! Miracle at Philadelphia? Getting anywhere on SEPTA.

  5. Years ago, SEPTA tried to rebrand its rapid transit lines with colors similar to Boston’s.

    It seems there was a new General Manager coming and they were afraid he wouldn’t understand Philadelphia’s odd names for the lines. For example, the Broad Street Subway is a subway under Broad St. The Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated is a line that starts as an elevated over Market St. then goes into a subway under Market St., then turns North to be an elevated to Frankford. You can see the confusion.

    In any event, the new General Manager fled back to Boston; David Gunn came in and straightened things out and nobody paid attention to the colors.

    Now everything is a “Metro.” Doesn’t “Metro” mean “Subway” everywhere else?

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