NAZI LEADER Adolf Hitler could be featured on the next bus you ride in the Philadelphia area, after SEPTA decided not to appeal a recent federal court ruling that said it could not restrict ads that the transit authority previously called "disparaging" and anti-Islamic.

American Freedom Defense Initiative co-founder Pamela Geller called the decision a "victory for truth and free speech" and said the ads will "increase public awareness" of her group's cause.

Abby Stamelman Hocky, executive director of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, yesterday said her organization was prepared "to mitigate whatever harm may be done" by the ads being seen in the community.

She said she hopes the ads, which SEPTA officials said will run on 84 buses for four weeks, can provide "a teachable moment" and her group is mulling a "Dare to Understand" campaign to counteract the ads' messages.

SEPTA general counsel Gino Benedetti said the decision not to appeal hinged on the cost of appealing, and on the fact that SEPTA has since changed its policy to ban political ads altogether to avoid a similar situation in the future. Political ads represent about 1 percent of SEPTA's total advertising revenue.