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October 04, 2022

SEPTA aims to make bus system more reliable with proposed network overhaul plan

The transportation authority will hold community engagement sessions over the next few months to hear public feedback

Transportation SEPTA
SEPTA bus revolution draft routes Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

SEPTA has released a proposal for the reconfiguration of its bus routes, marking an important step in its three-year Bus Revolution project. The public transportation authority hopes to increase frequency of routes, while making schedules more simple and consistent.

Bus riders in the Philadelphia region could soon see changes to their daily commutes, as SEPTA plans an overhaul of its bus network with the goal of increasing access and reliability.

The transportation authority unveiled Proposed Draft Bus Network Monday, which would increase bus frequency and reduce the overall number of routes. The proposal marks an important milestone in the SEPTA Forward: Bus Revolution project that aims to reconfigure service based on public feedback.

The proposal involves changes to the overall network, as well as individual bus routes. It reduces the number of routes from 125 to 99, makes routes straighter, and keeps buses on major roadways as much as possible to reduce turns. Bus schedules also will be made more simple and consistent.

High-frequency bus routes would increase from 32 to 44, and there would be more frequent buses during middle-of-the-day and weekend day service. The updated network also would be better coordinated with SEPTA's other services, including more connections with rail services. 

The proposal introduces the MAX Series, which would include buses categorized by how frequently they operate. "MAX" stands for the maximum time between buses, so in a "10 MAX" bus route, riders would wait no more than 10 minutes for the next bus.

SEPTA also plans to streamline service patterns and reduce the number of bus trips that differ from the main route. In the draft network, nearly all trips would begin and end at the same point and travel along the same route.

The Bus Revolution project is estimated to take three years to complete, with the first two years set aside for planning and analysis. The project was first kicked off in March and April of 2021.

In the spring, SEPTA sought public input on two different scenarios for the redesign of its bus network. The Proposed Draft Bus Network marries the best qualities of the two.

SEPTA revealed information about a variety of opportunities for community engagement and feedback on the proposal during its kick-off Transit Talk on Tuesday.

"This is the most important time for riders and potential riders to share input and ideas about the proposed changes, which are still in draft form," Leslie Richards, CEO and General Manager of SEPTA, said. "We need your feedback to get this right."

Bus Revolution drop-in open houses will be held in neighborhoods throughout the city and region over the next few months. The events will include activities, fall treats and information about bus route changes. Open houses will be held on the following dates at the following locations:

Tuesday, Oct. 18: 4-7 p.m., Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown

Wednesday, Oct. 19: 4-7 p.m., Phoenixville Recreation Center, 501 Franklin Ave., Phoenixville

Thursday, Oct. 20: 6-8 p.m., American Legion Loudenslager Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave., Philadelphia

Tuesday, Oct. 25: 6-8 p.m., Vogt Recreation Center, 4141 Unruh Ave., Philadelphia

Wednesday, Oct. 26: 6-8 p.m., Cliveden Carriage House, 6401 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia

Friday, Oct. 28: 5:30-8 p.m., Finnegan Recreation Center, 1231 S. 30th St., Philadelphia

Thursday, Nov. 3: 4-6 p.m., Chester City Hall Community Room, 1 E. Fourth St., Chester

Saturday, Nov. 5: 12-3 p.m., East Passyunk Community Center, 1025 Mifflin St., Philadelphia

Wednesday, Nov. 9: 3-5 p.m., Lucien Blackwell Community Center, 4790 Aspen St., Philadelphia

Thursday, Nov. 10: 5-8 p.m., Kingsessing Recreational Center, 4901 Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia

Saturday, Nov. 12: 2:30-4:30 p.m., Upper Darby Free Library Municipal Branch, 501 Bywood Ave., Philadelphia

Tuesday, Nov. 15: 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lower Merion Administration Building, 75 E Lancaster Ave., Ardmore

Wednesday, Nov. 16: 6-8 p.m., The Liacouras Center, Fox-Gittis Room, 1776 Broad St., Philadelphia

Thursday, Dec. 8: 5:30-7:30 p.m., SEPTA, 3rd Floor, 1234 Market St. Philadelphia

For those who cannot make it to an in-person meeting, Virtual Community Conversations will offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The virtual meetings will occur on the following evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Each one will focus on a specific area of the SEPTA region:

Monday, Oct. 17: Chester and Delaware counties

Monday, Oct. 24: Northeast Philadelphia

Monday, Nov. 7: Northwest Philadelphia

Monday, Nov. 14: South Philadelphia

Monday, Nov. 21: Bucks and Montgomery counties

Monday, Nov. 28: West Philadelphia

Monday, Dec. 5: North Philadelphia

Monday, Dec. 12: Center City

More information about SEPTA's plans and maps of the proposed routes can be found on the Bus Revolution website

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