Leslie Richards’ Revolutionary Vision for SEPTA Aims to Modernize the System To Make It Appealing to More People

Leslie Richards
Image and caption via Philadelphia Magazine.
Leslie Richards in SEPTA’s 13th Street trolley station.

SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards, who took over the job in early 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit, and her team have rolled out an innovative new vision for the nation’s sixth-largest transit system that aims to modernize SEPTA and make it more appealing to a greater number of people, writes Tom McGrath for the Philadelphia Magazine.

Richard believes the revolutionary plan will help power Southeastern Pennsylvania’s economy, push back against climate change, and make it more accessible for lower-income residents. At the same time, the plan will make SEPTA as easy and pleasant to use as sone of its great European counterparts, like London’s Tube.

“I firmly believe the healthier the public transportation system is in a metropolitan area, the healthier the metropolitan area is,” said Richards.

The main challenge in implementing this plan fully remains money. Since the start of the pandemic, SEPTA has only survived thanks to emergency funding from the federal government. However, that funding will end next year. That is how long SEPTA has to figure out how to close its budget deficit of over $240 million per year without upping prices and reducing service.

Read more about SEPTA in the Philadelphia Magazine.


This video takes you through the timeline of SEPTA’s evolution including when new stations were opened, forming the SEPTA and New Jersey Transit network that we know today.

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