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May 24, 2024

SEPTA's overhauled bus routes approved after 2 years of public hearings and revisions

The 'Bus Revolution' plan prompted more than 200 meetings and 10,000 comments. It starts taking effect next year.

Transportation SEPTA
SEPTA bus revolution Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

SEPTA's overhauled bus routes are set to begin taking effect next year. Major changes include more frequent routes, the removal of some and the creation of new ones.

After a prolonged public engagement process, SEPTA's revamped bus network was approved Thursday by the transit authority's board of directors. 

The "Bus Revolution" plan aims to simplify SEPTA's bus network by increasing the frequency of its routes by 30%, making them more accessible and offering more consistent schedules. It also includes an Uber-style, on-demand transit service in six suburban zones. Commuters should expect to see these changes starting next year.

SEPTA held more than 200 community meetings – including 152 in person – to listen to public concerns over the last two years. SEPTA officials said they reviewed more than 10,000 comments and used the feedback to revise the plan. 

"Public input has been critical to shaping the bus network plan, and we will continue having these conversations as we move toward implementation," SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards said. "This plan prioritizes the customer experience by improving access to a more frequent and reliable bus network that will be more useful to more people. We are excited to deliver these benefits to our customers and the communities we serve."

Earlier this year, City Council Majority Leader Katherine Gilmore Richardson requested a delay of the plan's approval to review the bus route changes and to ensure that affected communities were able to give their input. SEPTA set additional public meetings to discuss the proposal and released the final version of the Bus Revolution in April.

"Our partners throughout the city and region have played a major role throughout this process, and we are grateful for their support of SEPTA," SEPTA Board Chair Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr. said. "In particular, I want to thank members of Philadelphia City Council for working with us on a series of public meetings this spring that helped shape this final plan."

The upcoming bus route changes are explained in detail, with maps, on SEPTA's Bus Revolution website.