Philly Phlash

Last updated
Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop
Krapf Bus New Flyer Industries Midi (MD35) 1415 Phlash bus.jpg
Philly PHLASH New Flyer MiDi bus
Operator Independence Visitor Center Corporation
in partnership with SEPTA. Vehicle service provided by Krapf Transit
VehiclePublic Transit
Began service1994 [1]
Locale Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Daily ridership190,000 (2015) [2] [ needs update ]

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.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

The Independence Visitor Center is the Official Visitor Center for the Greater Philadelphia Region, located in Independence National Historical Park at 599 Market Street, One North Independence Mall West, in Philadelphia, PA 19106. The 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) building was constructed in 2001 as the result of a cooperative effort among many area organizations, with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Delaware River Port Authority, the Annenberg Foundation, the Connelly Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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]

Penns Landing Neighborhood of Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Penn's Landing is a waterfront area of Center City Philadelphia along the Delaware River. Its name commemorates the landing of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania in 1682. The actual landing site is further south in Chester, Pennsylvania. The city of Philadelphia purchased the right to use the name. Penn's Landing is bounded by Front Street to the west, the Delaware River to the east, Spring Garden Street to the north, and Washington Avenue to the south, and is primarily focused on the Christopher Columbus Boulevard corridor.

National Park Service United States federal agency

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

Independence Hall historic building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

National Museum of American Jewish History Jewish Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum at 101 South Independence Mall East at Market Street in Center City Philadelphia. It was founded in 1976.

Liberty Bell bell that serves as a symbol of American independence and liberty

The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, the bell today is located in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester and Pack, and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof", a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus (25:10). The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations.

Museum of the American Revolution History museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Museum of the American Revolution is a Philadelphia museum dedicated to telling the story of the American Revolution. The museum was opened to the public on April 19, 2017, the anniversary of the first battle of the war, Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775.

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. - 6 p.m. on operating days. PHLASH service caters mostly to tourists who are not familiar with the city landscape. [4]

Service History

An older version of the PHLASH, which operated as trolleys until 2014. Philly Phlash PMA.JPG
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 '90s. In order to keep fares at a price point attractive to visitors, the PHLASH service has always been subsidized. [2]

Ed Rendell American lawyer and politician

Edward Gene Rendell is an American lawyer, prosecutor, politician, and author who, as a member of the Democratic Party, served as the 45th Governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011 and the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000.

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]

SEPTA organization operating a transportation system in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional public transportation authority that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It also manages projects that maintain, replace and expand its infrastructure, facilities and vehicles.

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 ]

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  1. "Once nearly grounded, Philly Phlash rides on".
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "You'll never believe who kept the Philly Phlash from shutting down".
  3. "Philly PHLASH".
  4. "Philadelphia PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop".