Get to know SEPTAMETRO
Things will start to look different along SEPTA’s subway, elevated, and trolley lines – now known as SEPTA Metro. SEPTA Metro unifies and organizes these vital lines into one interconnected wayfinding system, making it easier and more intuitive for all who ride.
Why is SEPTA doing this?
First and foremost, because you asked us to: over the years, we’ve received a lot of feedback about our signage and communication needing improvement. Led by SEPTA’s Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) and Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), we spent three years researching the problem. We talked with thousands of riders, employees, and advocates about what challenges they faced and what could be better.
We found that the problem was a lot larger than missing signs or outdated information. What we needed was a new, accessible vocabulary – colors, letters, numbers, and pictograms – that could be understood no matter who you are or what language you speak. The result? A new website, and soon a new app, signs, maps, and other tools that are easier to use, read, and understand.
This is a big opportunity, and we’re not going to waste it. New signage will help us to better serve our riders, who are increasingly changing up when, how, and where they travel, and will therefore rely more on signs. Updating so many signs at once also gives us the chance to improve the way our stations and vehicles feel – making them brighter and more welcoming.
Here’s how we’re doing it:
As you can imagine, saying “Subway, elevated, and trolleys,” or “The Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Norristown High Speed Line, Media-Sharon Hill Lines/Routes 101 and 102, and the Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36 Trolleys” is not easy, even if you’ve lived your whole life in Philly. While these lines may look different, they all provide the same type of service: frequent, affordable, and around-the-clock. We know the term “Metro” is new to Philly, but it does the job. Plus, think of what you can do with all the time you’ll save saying it!
SEPTA Metro is much more than just new signage. Internally at SEPTA, these lines have been merged into a new operational unit called SEPTA Metro Rail division with dedicated resources and personnel to better provide the service you need.
Letters & Numbers
We know, we know: it’s always going to be the “Broad Street Line!” That’s fine with us. The Schuylkill Expressway is still the “Schuylkill Expressway” even though all the signs say “I-76”. The point is to create signage that is easy to follow no matter who you are, what language you speak, or how well you know SEPTA. Using the letter “B” in an orange square is about as easy as it gets.
We’re introducing letters for these lines, and numbers to refer to their services. For example, the Broad Street Line is the , while the local train is the .
We’re not changing what’s already working: blue for the Market-Frankford Line, orange for the Broad Street Line, and green for the trolleys that run under Market Street. However, other trolleys – the Route 15 and the Media-Sharon Hill Lines, will receive their own unique color to avoid confusion.
Did you know we have two “Girard” stations? What about three “Allegheny” stations? Have you ever gotten off the Market-Frankford Line at 15th St to catch the Broad Street Line, only to find there’s no such station on your way home? You’re not alone if you think this is confusing! Here are some ways we’re addressing it:
Combining station names when it makes sense:
Adding more information where you need it:
Keeping it simple:
Got questions? Below are a few answers to the questions we often hear.
If you have more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Metro” is descriptive and functional. It means frequent, affordable, around-the-clock rail service that enables all sorts of trips, matching the flexibility our riders need.
“Metro” simplifies the way we can all get directions and navigate the frequent transit network. Just like we know “Regional Rail,” we now have a simple way to understand the frequent rail transit network.
“Metro” is a globally recognized term and translates well across languages, including Spanish and Chinese, the second and third most spoken languages in our region.
When will I see this change?
Updated colors, letters, and maps will begin to appear on our website and app in late 2023. The new signage and wayfinding system will begin to appear in stations in 2024. We’re phasing things in gradually and intentionally to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.
Why do these lines belong together?
While the El, subway, trolleys, and Norristown High Speed Line all look very different, they provide the same type of service. Frequent, affordable, and around-the-clock transit service that you can use to get anywhere – not just Center City at rush hour. Millions of people in and around Philly rely on this network every day, and it’s our job to make sure it’s accessible to everyone – no matter what language they speak, their abilities, or how well they know SEPTA already.
Is SEPTA rebranding?
No. SEPTA Metro is solely the name for the network that will include our subway, elevated, and trolley lines. It doesn’t replace “SEPTA” any more than “Regional Rail” does.
Why is this happening?
SEPTA is constantly at work making our system better, more efficient, and easier to navigate for all who ride. Replacing long, inconsistent names with simple letters and colors eliminates language barriers, streamlines the entire system, and creates consistency that supports easy navigation.
To learn more about the history of this project, visit our Planning site.
How will this affect me?
It depends who “me” is! We’ve carefully designed the new wayfinding to benefit all riders, no matter your familiarity with SEPTA, native language, or level of literacy. If you’ve been riding SEPTA forever, this will help you easily find new routes beyond your “everyday” ride. If you’re a new rider, it will help you navigate the network with confidence. If you’re a SEPTA employee, you can proudly share that SEPTA is making big moves to upgrade the wayfinding system to better serve our riders.