SEPTA Donates ‘S.T.A.R. Bus’ to Community Organization


IN EARLY JUNE, SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) donated its “Starbus’ to The C.H.A.R.L.E.S. Foundation, a Philadelphia-based community organization. The non-profit teaches children life skills and prepares them for employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The ignition key to the 40-foot bus was presented on June 6 at SEPTA’s Callowhill District in west Philadelphia and included an impressive drumline performance.

professionals and community volunteers hold banners in front of bus
Volunteers from The C.H.A.R.L.E.S. Foundation and SEPTA officials gather at the Authority’s Callowhill District in Philadelphia on June 6 to celebrate the ‘S.T.A.R. Bus’ donation.

“This is such an exciting day for SEPTA, and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Leslie S. Richards, SEPTA CEO and general manager. “This is the first time that we’ve donated a decorated bus to a community organization, and I’m so glad that it will be used for such a noble endeavor.”

The Starbucks-themed decorated bus was a contender in SEPTA’s Annual Holiday Vehicle Decorating Competition where employees from all eight of SEPTA’s districts volunteer their time to decorate a retired bus to compete in a festive contest every December. A total of eight buses, as well as two trolleys, competed for bragging rights during the annual tradition, which will celebrate 10 years this December. The ‘Starbus’ was a fan favorite with its display case stuffed with treats and a real barista on board.

Now, instead of serving cookies and coffee, this bus will serve a greater purpose as it heads to its new home with The C.H.A.R.L.E.S Foundation. The S.T.A.R. Bus, with the acronym now standing for Stopping Trauma by Aiding Recovery, will be used to offer conflict resolution workshops and free counseling to victims of violence at various locations in Philadelphia.

“This bus is a wonderful gift from SEPTA that will provide mobile community engagement by going into impacted communities to provide trauma recovery and gun violence prevention services,” said Movita Johnson-Harrell, founder, The C.H.A.R.L.E.S. Foundation. “It will also offer information about job opportunities, and mental health and addictions resources to address the social determinants that lead to community violence.”

Find out more at