SEPTA is testing out a new name for its rail network: the Metro - BillyPenn
The potential rebrand is part of a $40 million effort to make the public transit system easier for new riders.
SEPTA is looking to collectively rename its subways, trolley routes and a light rail as the “Metro” — part of a $40 million effort to make the public transit system easier to navigate.
The rebrand would affect six SEPTA routes: the Market-Frankford Line, the Broad Street Line, city trolleys, the Norristown High Speed Line and the Media-Sharon Hill Line. In addition to their new collective name, each route will be identified by a new color and a single letter.
“What Metro says is: Frequent, affordable, all-day, flexible rail service,” said Lex Powers, SEPTA’s strategic planning manager. “What we want people to think of is a light rail-style network that you don’t just use for commuting into Center City for an office job. It’s for seeing friends, going to the doctor, running errands.”
The proposed change comes after a year of research revealing that riders just don’t understand SEPTA’s current signage. After interviewing riders and even watching them attempt to decode signs, they realized that the rail transit network was widely misunderstood — and confusing signs were partially to blame.
“If you were to go out and ask someone where the rail transit network is, they wouldn’t know what you were talking about,” Powers said. “That’s a really good indication that it’s not a great term.”
The end game, for SEPTA, is to make the rail system easier to navigate for new riders, as well as for people with disabilities and people who don’t speak English. Officials figure with a more cohesive brand, it might not be so challenging to use.
The new name isn’t totally finalized. Before SEPTA actually finishes the project, they’re engaging in a two-month feedback period with pop-ups at stations and an online portal. That way riders can share how they feel about the rebrand.
“Here’s to hoping we’ve done enough homework that it’ll go over well,” Powers said. “We’re definitely expecting a lot of feedback.”