Philly Phlash

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Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop
Krapf Bus New Flyer Industries Midi (MD35) 1415 Phlash bus.jpg
Philly PHLASH New Flyer MiDi bus
Overview
OperatorIndependence Visitor Center Corporation
in partnership with SEPTA. Vehicle service provided by Krapf Transit
VehiclePublic Transit
StatusOperational
Began service1994[1]
Routes
Routes1
LocalePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Stations20
Service
Ridership190,000 (2015)[2][needs update]
www.ridephillyphlash.com

The Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop (also known as the Philly PHLASH or PHLASH) is a visitor-friendly public transit service in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, managed by the Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC).[2] PHLASH vehicles are ADA-compliant, temperature-controlled New Flyer MiDi buses. The IVCC contracted Krapf Transit to manage vehicle operations.

The PHLASH route is particularly notable for connecting Philadelphia's main tourist attractions, from Penn's Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront, to National Park Service sites like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Independence National Historical Park, to cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo and Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park.[3]

More of the attractions located close to the PHLASH route are:

The PHLASH runs weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) service in the spring and fall, and daily service during the summer and holiday season, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on operating days. PHLASH service caters mostly to tourists who are not familiar with the city landscape.[4]

Service history[edit]

An older version of the PHLASH, which operated as trolleys until 2014.

The PHLASH was first introduced in 1994 by Ed Rendell, who was Mayor of Philadelphia at the time. The service was operated by the city's Center City District starting in the late 1990s. In order to keep fares at a price point attractive to visitors, the PHLASH service has always been subsidized.[2]

By 2011, the state grant that had been providing a subsidy for PHLASH operations was almost exhausted. With Gov. Rendell was leaving the governor's office, additional funding didn't appear to be forthcoming, and the service was in danger of shutting down.

In 2012, the IVCC took over management of the PHLASH under CEO, James J. Cuorato, who believed the PHLASH provided an important service for Philadelphia tourism. Cuorato was able to successfully secure funding by convincing the state legislature to include an allotment for PHLASH in its Transportation Package bill, by partnering with Philadelphia's public transportation provider, SEPTA.[2]

In 2014, PHLASH upgraded its fleet from trolleys to its current modern buses, and contracted vehicle operations to Krapf Transit. The PHLASH fleet is composed of seven 30-foot and 35-foot MiDi buses, manufactured by New Flyer under licence from Alexander Dennis.[2]

In 2016, PHLASH had a record-breaking season, with 316,000 riders.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Once nearly grounded, Philly Phlash rides on".
  2. ^ a b c d e "You'll never believe who kept the Philly Phlash from shutting down".
  3. ^ "Philly PHLASH".
  4. ^ "Philadelphia PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop".