Greater PRT started looking into the history of Philadelphia’s Subway Surface Subway lines, in part because the name itself will make your brain melt. From the city that gave you Street Road, of course there is a Subway Surface Tunnel that doesn’t carry subways, but trolleys. Are you following? Really? Because have you seen the maps? Below is the current trolley map which primarily shows the Subway Surface lines.
The map is bad. It’s busy, doesn’t convey any idea of where the trolleys run in the physical world, and if you wanted to connect to anything but the Market-Frankford Line, well good luck.
But short shrifting the trolley lines isn’t just a fault of the route line map. On the official SEPTA system map, subway-surface trolleys only rate a couple of arrows and some cramped text, representing five lines. Hardly appropriate for a system with more than 71,000 riders per weekday.
This isn’t exactly a new problem. SEPTA’s 1982 map wasn’t much better, though it did at least acknowledge that the trolleys did indeed run down streets.
I submitted my transit map based on A. Merritt Taylor’s 1913 Future Rapid Transit map to Cameron Booth of Transit Maps fame. Cameron was nice enough to post my map on his website and rated it 3.5 stars. Cameron also offered some pointers for improving the map and you’ll be seeing them soon on this site.