SEPTA Route 103

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Red Arrow streetcar on route 103 in 1966

SEPTA Route 103 is a bus route operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Route 103 runs between Ardmore, Pennsylvania and the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, it began as a streetcar line in 1902,[1] operated by the Ardmore and Llanerch Street Railway, then the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (PSTC, doing business as "Red Arrow Lines") until converted bus operation to December 1966. SEPTA acquired PSTC and assumed operations of the Red Arrow Lines in January 1970.


Map of former trolley (now bus) Routes 103 and 104 (orange), as well as existing trolley Routes 101 and 102 (red), and Route 100 (blue)

The route begins at a loop around Suburban Square shopping center in Ardmore, then heads west along Montgomery Avenue. A short distance later, it turns left at Woodside Road, crossing under the Paoli/Thorndale Line near Ardmore (SEPTA station), which also serves Amtrak's Keystone Service. After its stint on Woodside, it takes a left onto Lancaster Avenue. While Route 103 is close to the Ardmore station in this area, it doesn't have a direct connection to the station aside from a walk across the parking lot near the station at Suburban Square.

From Lancaster Avenue, Route 103 is divided. Southbound buses use Rittenhouse Place, East Athens Avenue, and Cricket Avenue to County Line Road. Northbound buses from County Line Road use Ardmore Avenue to Lancaster Avenue. Shortly after the split between Lancaster Avenue and County Line Roads, Route 103 makes a turn onto a private busway known as Hathaway Lane (a.k.a.; Ardmore Busway), where it immediately encounters County Line Road Station, which is little more than a shed. The road was originally right-of way for the trolley rails until it was paved over, which is why some of the old P&W/Red Arrow Line sheds still remain intact; the exception to this is the plexiglass bus shelter at Belmont Avenue Station.

Although Hathaway Lane continues to serve as a private road strictly for the Route 103 bus south of Haverford Road, there are some sections that contain parallel roads for residents and the general public. Both the busway and West Hathaway Lane go under the Norristown High Speed Line at Ardmore Junction (SEPTA station).[2] Merwood Road Station contains residential parallel roads on both sides of the busway, in the form of both West Hathaway and East Hathaway Lane. East Hathaway is a dead-end street north of Merwood Road and a one-way street between Eagle and Merwood Roads. West Hathaway Lane moves away from the busway at the intersection of Huntington Lane.

Though the Ardmore Busway ends at the intersection of Darby Road & Eagle Road in Oakmont, a "Red Arrow" bus shelter can be found after the intersection on Darby Road; the former trolley right-of-way runs west of Darby Road while the current bus route runs down Darby until making a left turn at Brookline Boulevard in Havertown. From there, the bus heads east and makes a right turn onto Earlington Road as it runs south again through Penfield; when Earlington Road ends at Township Line Road the bus turns left then heads up to 77th Street. It then turns right onto 77th Street (City Limits).

Route 103 trolley on West Chester Pike in 1964

Route 103 buses took over SEPTA Route 105 routing from 77th Street & City Avenue to 69th Street Transportation Center in the early 2000s. Route 103 then turns left onto Woodbine Avenue, then a right onto 75th Street, it then travels down that street for about 4 blocks, then buses merge into Lansdowne Avenue before making a quick left onto Cardington Road/Victory Avenue. Buses then make a left into the SEPTA Private Bus Way to terminate at the North Terminal of the 69th Street Transportation Center, a terminal that did not exist when Route 103 was trolley. This is not the original termination point for Route 103 trolley as they originally came into the West Terminal. The Line as a trolley & bus originally merged into West Chester Pike where it joined its counterpart Route 104 (West Chester Trolley Line), another Red Arrow Bus Lines converted from trolleys in 1954. A mural of a trolley station was painted on a building on the corner where the right-of-way used to exist.[3] From this point both the Routes 103 and 104 buses continued eastward along West Chester Pike until reaching the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, the same location they reached when they were trolley lines. Today the North Terminal is also served by 5 other SEPTA Bus Routes; 30, 65 (Formerly Route E), 105, 106 & 123. West Terminal continues to serve trolleys today in the form of the former Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company Media (SEPTA Route 101) & Sharon Hill (SEPTA Route 102) Trolley Lines.


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