SEPTA begins the process of replacing more than 100 wheelchairs Local news

SEPTA is working to replace its outdated fleet of trolleybuses. The first step in the process took place on Thursday, when the transit agency issued a request for car replacement proposals.

SEPTA has eight trolleybus lines that run 68 miles across the region, connecting communities in West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and Delaware County.

Andrew Bush of SEPTA said they are doing more than just buying new cars. “We will bring the stations to ADA compliance by making improvements on the streets,” Bush said.

He added that the goal is to increase the size of vehicles from their current 45 passengers to 65.

Upgrading will be difficult or cheap. The cost of the project is $ 1.8 billion, including $ 800 million for vehicles.

The goal is to replace the 130 cars currently in use, with the option to purchase additional strollers if needed. Interchangeable vehicles will be larger than the current 40-year-old Kawasaki fleet, with more space for wheelchairs and baby carriages, among others.

The upgraded vehicles also guarantee the return of the Route 15 trolleybus to the rails. This line runs on buses because there are not enough trolleybuses. Route 15 runs on PCC-class carts dating back to the 1950s and have been taken off the streets for repairs. They may return next year, Bush said, if the recovery goes on schedule.

However, the new cars will not arrive at night. Bush said it could take five to seven years before the new trolleybuses will be introduced to the revenue service, which means they will regularly operate on lines for paying passengers.

There is also a requirement that 65% of vehicle construction be done in the United States to meet federal funding requirements. Bush said finding domestic rail vehicle manufacturers is a “small problem” as most are produced overseas, particularly in China.

Trolleybus upgrades are part of a program called SEPTA Nextwhich is a plan to create what officials call a “transit lifestyle network” – a transit system that can be easily used for any type of trip, not just for commuting to and from work.

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