Oct 6, 2022 - News

What you need to know about SEPTA's bus overhaul plan

A line of SEPTA buses.

SEPTA is revamping its bus system in Philly. Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

It's been nearly six decades since SEPTA overhauled its bus network in Philly and the suburbs, but that's changing with a plan unveiled this week that the organization hopes will improve the ridership experience.

Details: SEPTA will operate 99 bus routes, down from 125, under the new phased plan that could take effect as early as next fall.

  • The agency would expand its system to 44 high-frequency routes, up from 33, aiming for service every 15 minutes or less for riders, seven days a week.
  • SEPTA also plan to add 10 micro-transit zones for on-demand bus service in the suburbs, the Inquirer reports. That means residents in Chester, lower Bucks or northern Montgomery counties, among others, will be able to schedule trips like they do on Uber and other ride-share apps.

Flashback: SEPTA rolled out the plan to address a 13% decline in ridership from 2013 to 2019 after people complained about slow times and reliability of buses, per the Inquirer.

  • Daily ridership has rebounded to about 70% of pre-pandemic numbers as of this spring, officials told Axios.

What's ahead: SEPTA is holding in-person and virtual feedback sessions to get public input on the proposed changes in the coming months.

  • Its board will then hold formal hearings and make a final decision in the spring.

What they're saying: "We anticipate getting positive and negative feedback, but we’re really excited to see what people think," Dan Nemiroff, planner and the project manager for SEPTA’s Bus Revolution, told Axios. “This is the first time we’ve said let’s wipe the slate clean. There’s no sacred cows.”

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