Check Out SEPTA’s Sexy New Trolley Design

Plus: Prepare to pay more to cross Philly bridges.

The new SEPTA trolley design

The new SEPTA trolley design (rendering courtesy Alstom)

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Check Out SEPTA’s Sexy New Trolley Design

Everybody has been talking about SEPTA’s Route 15 trolleys, the newly restored 1940s-era trolleys that just reappeared along Girard Avenue. And those are cool. Historic. But I just got a peek at the design for the next iteration of SEPTA trolleys. And they look sexy. Or at least sexy for SEPTA. (The bar is low.)

The renderings of the new SEPTA trolley design come courtesy of Alstom, the French company tasked with building the new SEPTA trolleys. Alstom says it will deliver the new trolleys to SEPTA by 2027, and they are expected to eventually replace all SEPTA trolleys — both city and suburban lines.

the current SEPTA trolley design in Philadelphia

A SEPTA trolley in Philadelphia (photo by Paul Sableman/Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

In addition to looking better than what we’re currently working with (what we’re currently riding is pictured above), the new SEPTA trolley design also features lower floors, meaning riders won’t need to climb a steep staircase to get in and out of the trolley. The trolleys are also longer, so they’ll be less crowded, or at least will allow more people to cram into them. Alstom also says the new design will help SEPTA’s trolley system to operate more efficiently, leading to a 20 percent reduction in trip times. I’m setting my alarm for 2027 so I can factcheck them on that latter point.

And if you’re thinking that the face of the new SEPTA trolley kind of looks like a Liberty Bell, you’re not seeing things. It’s an intentional nod in the design.

More renderings:

Ed. Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the new trolleys would not replace the recently restored Route 15 trolleys.

Will City Workers Return to the Office?

That’s certainly what Mayor Cherelle Parker wants. In fact, she’s ordered city employees to get back to in-person work in July. But it sounds like City Council has some major problems with this. So will Mayor Parker get her way? We shall see.

Philly Bridge Tolls May Soon Increase

Your grocery bill is higher than it used to be. Some pizza places are charging more than $20 for a simple cheese pizza that’s remarkably mediocre. So why should you still be paying a $5 toll to cross a bridge from New Jersey into Philadelphia? What is this, 2011?!

In fact, 2011 is the last time that bridge tolls for the New Jersey-Philadelphia crossings went up. That’s when we hit the $5 mark. That was coming off a toll increase from just a few years prior, when the toll had been $4. And less than a decade before that, drivers had been paying $3. Understandably, the 2011 increase didn’t please very many people.

The Ben Franklin Bridge, which may soon see its tolls increase along with three other Philadelphia bridges

The Ben Franklin Bridge, which may soon see its tolls increase along with three other Philadelphia bridges (Getty Images)

Well, those same people will be unhappy to hear that the Delaware River Port Authority may soon be raising the tolls on the four bridges it operates. Those bridges are the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Walt Whitman Bridge, the Betsy Ross Bridge, and the Commodore Barry Bridge. The number $6.75 had been bandied about — that would be a 35 percent increase, compared to a 20 percent toll increase in 2011 — but it sounds like the DRPA might settle on $6, a 20 percent jump.

DRPA officials have cited the need to repair aging infrastructure and to recruit DRPA cops as justifications for the proposed toll increase. A vote could come as soon as August.

By the Numbers

55 percent: Staffing level at Philadelphia prisons. Which seems like a really bad way to run prisons. This is why the city is offering more money to prison guards and also dropping the residency requirement. Because you know folks in, say, Wynnewood, are just kicking themselves that they live inches on the wrong side of the city line.

3: Months that a federal judge just told the the conservators of the SS United States on the Delaware River (aka the giant ship you see when you park at the South Philadelphia Ikea) that they have to move the ship elsewhere. This is all due to a dispute between the conservancy and the owner of the berth in which the fastest ocean liner ever to cross the Atlantic currently sits. Like so many Philadelphia landlords these days, the boat’s landlord tried to double the rent. The tenant said hell no. And now here we are. As for what happens next with this vessel … Stay tuned.

16: Years that Queen Village French stalwart Bistrot La Minette lasted before announcing it will be closing. Craving those escargot? You have until July 31st.

15: Days left in Wawa’s Welcome America Festival. It kicked off yesterday. Here’s a complete guide to the festivities. They had me at free hoagies.