Cornwells Heights, PA: The SEPTA 2024 Bus Roadeo was today, and of course DashTransit was there. This particular article is more on my opinions rather than facts and figures.

NJ Transit 19150 and DART First State 923
At the SEPTA Bus and Maintenance Roadeo 2019
Cornwells Heights Station, Bensalem, PA
NJ Transit 19150 and DART First State 923
At the SEPTA Bus and Maintenance Roadeo 2019
Cornwells Heights Station, Cornwells Heights, PA

I’ve attended almost every SEPTA Roadeo since 2011, with the exception of 2013, 2016, and 2018. As noted in my SEPTA 2022 bus Roadeo video the quality of the Roadeos have made a sharp decline in recent years. They used to be super fun and festive, and be open to all the fans and families alike. They used to be a good spot to learn more about SEPTA’s future plans, while at the same time learn about what makes the system successful. They used to be where not only you’d see SEPTA’s current fleet, but also visitors from other agencies as well. Lately, it’s mostly been limited to the competition and that’s it. While yes, that’s the way most transit operators do it, that was never the way SEPTA Logo SEPTA did it. SEPTA’s was always more festive, and that’s why people would come clear across the country just to see it. Whether they cared about the competition or not. It was a celebration of what is SEPTA

If you compared the 2019 Roadeo (the last one before COVID) to the 2022 Roadeo (the first one after COVID), you can clearly see the contrast between when it used to be a full celebration versus now where it’s just a corporate event.

 Fishbowl 4300 at the 2023 Bus Roadeo
Cornwells Heights Station, Cornwells Heights, PA
SEPTA GMC Fishbowl 4300 at the 2023 Bus Roadeo
Cornwells Heights Station, Cornwells Heights, PA

That said, this year’s Roadeo was actually pretty much on par with the past two years. For the city bus display, we only had the “classic” Fishbowls, and Xcelsiors. Yes a trackless came up as did a Nova, but for hours the display was just Fishbowls and Xcelsiors. Kind of bleak to be honest. We also had some fans bring some buses which shocked me even more. While I was not expecting these buses, I still was left a bit underwhelmed. Not because of the turnout, but the fact that we had SEPTA buses from the 1970s, and then the buses in the Roadeo itself were the 2016-2021 batch of Xcelsiors. It dawned on me that not only is this going to be the fleet going forward, but all the buses from 1980-2007 were lost to time. Nothing from my specific childhood has any type of preservation by SEPTA. Hopefully that is addressed later this year with some more “retro liveries” like they did with Kawasaki car 9000, and a few Silverliners.

If not for meeting so many lovely fans of both SEPTA and DashTransit alike, I wouldn’t had enjoy this Roadeo much. SEPTA seems to be sending a loud message to us. The SEPTA Roadeos are not for fans anymore. We accepted that preservation is dead, but even the way the Roadeos are being run is sending this message. Heck, the GMC Fishbowl and Flxible New Look isn’t even preserved for us fans in the first place. All these years I thought they were, but now I see it’s more of a “See, look we did this thing” kind of thing, rather than actually holding on to a piece of history.

Hopefully, the 2025 Roadeo will be better! I will be posting the video on this Roadeo soon so stay tuned.

About the author: Dash Verified icon 1

I have been with Virtual Transit Center since it's conception as the "Dash Forums" back in 2008. Since then, I have been writing and doing YouTube side by side, focusing both on Transportation and Gaming. Most of my knowledge comes from SEPTA as I lived in Philadelphia for most of my life. As of 2021, I am on YouTube as DashTransit, Dash5155, and TheDashOfficial.

As for the name DashTransit itself, it actually stems from my YouTube channel.

DashTransit was originally called "njt5329" and the channel was just clips of buses. Mostly SEPTA and NJT. A Fujifilm Finepix was used in this era.

Starting in July 2011, the Canon SX130IS camera became the camera of the channel, bringing HD documentary-style videos much like my buddy (trainman1971) did for DVD for many years past. This is when the channel became known as "Transit Action Series"

In May 2012, the original Canon SX130IS retired, and then all videos were recorded off a mobile phone until eventually uploaded proved too difficult due to hardships IRL

Starting in 2017, I used a Canon SX200IS from Bastranz to reboot the channel that otherwise was dead for a whole year prior.

Between April 19th, 2019, and January 21st, 2021, all videos were recorded by a Canon SX710 HS camera. The channel was renamed DashTransit 4/19/19.

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