SEPTA Route 79
SEPTA Route 79 is a former trolley bus (trackless trolley in local terminology) and current bus route, operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The line runs between the Point Breeze neighborhood and the vicinity of Pier 70 along the Delaware River. Trackless trolleys replaced buses in 1961 but were suspended in 2003, and the authority later decided against restoring trackless trolley service. Trolley cars (streetcars) had served route 79 from 1912 until 1956.
The line begins at Snyder Loop west of 29th Street, which includes 29th Street, Vare Avenue (a frontage road along Interstate 76), and then heads east along Snyder Avenue, the very street the line was named after. At 25th Street, a viaduct above the street and the line is for a former Pennsylvania Railroad rail spur designed to serve neighborhood industries. Major intersections along this line include 22nd Street, Passyunk Avenue, and Broad Street, where commuters can connect to Snyder Station on the Broad Street Subway Line, along with the "Fairfax Bus and Bagel," a bagel shop that serves as an auxiliary bus stop for Greyhound and other buses. The next major crossings are at 12th and 11th Streets which carry the southbound and northbound segments of SEPTA Route 23. Route 23 was a streetcar line that was downgraded to a bus route in 1992. This line spanned from South Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill in Northwest Philadelphia.
Just east of Front Street and under I-95, Route 79 runs though Snyder Plaza. Besides the former Route 29 trolley bus, other connections to Route 79 in this area include SEPTA bus routes 7, 25, and 64. Eastbound buses turn north on Dilworth Street until they reach Columbus Boulevard, near Pier 70. The route then turns down Columbus Boulevard until it reaches Snyder Street and head west again before passing by another shopping center known as Columbus Commons. All buses are ADA-compliant, and contain bicycle racks. "Night Owl" service is also available.
End of trolley bus service
Along with SEPTA Routes 59, 66, 75 and 29, the Route 79 trolley bus was downgraded to a diesel bus route in 2003. Trolley buses were used in service on Route 79 for the last time on June 30, 2003. At that time, Route 79 had been the only Philadelphia route using trolley buses since February 2003, because Route 29 had been converted to diesel buses in February, and Routes 59, 66 and 75 had already been temporarily operated by diesels since June 8, 2002.
Trolley bus service on Routes 59, 66 and 75 was restored in 2008. A proposal to restore trolleybus service along Route 79 (along with 29) was considered by SEPTA in 2006, after the authority had placed an order for 38 new trolley buses for (only) Routes 59, 66 and 75. However, in October 2006 the authority's board voted against any further consideration of purchasing new trolley buses to allow Routes 29 or 79 to be restored, a decision that effectively eliminated the possibility that trolley bus service might return to route 79 (or 29).
- Springirth, Kenneth C. (2008). Southeastern Pennsylvania Trolleys, pp. 10 and 115. Charleston, SC (US): Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-5692-5.
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 252 (November–December 2003), p. 138. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 251 (September–October 2003), p. 119.
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 249 (May–June 2003), p. 70.
- "Trolleynews" (news section) Trolleybus Magazine No. 271 (January–February 2007), p. 23. ISSN 0266-7452. Retrieved September 15, 2011.