Weigh in on SEPTA's bus redesign plans
SEPTA wants your two cents about the future design of its bus system.
Driving the news: The transportation agency is in the second year of a $3 million reconfiguration of its entire bus network, including routes, schedules, stops and more.
- Dubbed Bus Revolution, SEPTA has developed two options for changes to the system, and now the transit agency wants you to weigh in.
Why it matters: This will be the first comprehensive bus redesign since SEPTA was formed in the mid-1960s.
- It's part of SEPTA's larger plan to revamp its entire system, including rail, Regional Rail and trolley services.
The big picture: Even before the pandemic, SEPTA had seen bus ridership drop for years. Now, the system must navigate a new reality, with Philly's population dropping and a push toward remote work changing how — and how often — many use public transportation.
- SEPTA's overall ridership for bus, train and trolley remains mired at 51% of pre-pandemic levels as of April, according to the agency's online dashboard.
Details: The two design options have distinct benefits and tradeoffs. Both have fewer routes than SEPTA's roughly 120 existing offerings.
Option 1: A total of 93 routes operating more frequent, all-day service, with faster trips and wait times limited to 30 minutes or less.
- Yes, but: This option has both longer walks between stops and more transfers for some riders.
Option 2: A total of 109 routes that include shorter walks between stops, more direct trips with fewer transfers for some riders, and more routes in suburban communities.
- Yes, but: This option has fewer routes operating all-day, frequent service and longer wait times, in some cases up to 60 minutes.
Of note: Both options include a new microtransit service, a ride-share option similar to Uber and Lyft but for the fixed cost of a bus ride.
- This option is located mostly in the suburbs in less densely populated service areas.
What they're saying: Dan Nemiroff, SEPTA manager of planning process, told Axios the goals of the bus system redesign are to boost ridership and make the system more effective.
- The final design will most likely be a blend between both network options, he added.
What's ahead: Beyond SETPA's online survey, the agency is also looking for feedback by hosting virtual community meetings on the plans.
- The agency will use rider feedback to create draft recommendations for a single plan, which is expected to be revealed in the fall.
- SEPTA is expected to officially roll out and hold hearings on a final plan next year, with the first changes pegged for fall 2023.
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