March 16, 2022
A $9.8 million grant was awarded to SEPTA from President Biden's bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the design and creation of two end-of-route bus facilities in South Philadelphia.
Congressman Dwight Evans and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon announced the plans on Monday. The transportation centers will include ADA-accessible bus stops with benches, bus shelters, signage, ample lighting, additional safety enhancements and bathroom facilities for SEPTA workers.
"Investments in public transportation are key to future economic growth in our region, helping more people get to and from work, as well as increasing access to commercial centers like those in South Philadelphia, near the proposed facility sites," said Rep. Scanlon.
The $9.8 million award is just a portion of the $409.3 million from the Infrastructure Law going to bolster public transit around the United States. The purpose of the funding is to modernize the country's public transportation system by providing upgrades to aging infrastructure and equipment.
Pennsylvania will receive $2.8 billion over the next five years to upgrade its public transportation system – including SEPTA. The $9.8 million award is just a portion of the estimated $120 million the transportation authority believes it will get through the law.
The Inquirer reported in November that by 2026, SEPTA could receive a total of $540 million in federal funding, in addition to its normal allotment of aid from the government.
Together, the two new locations will service nine total bus routes each day. Five of these routes are east to west, and the remaining four are north to south.
• East-West: G, 7, 29, 64, 79
• Proposed location: Near Pier 70 in South Philadelphia
• North-South: 25, 47, 47M, 57
• Proposed location: South 3rd St. and West Oregon Ave.
Public transportation, especially bus systems, are a critical support for communities throughout Pennsylvania.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) March 16, 2022
I applaud the Biden Administration for their shared interest in updating our infrastructure. https://t.co/xdY0izs6QO
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these routes provided 65,000 trips each day, according to Rep. Evans' Office.
"SEPTA's bus network is vital to mobility in our city and region, connecting hundreds of thousands of riders to work, school, medical appointments and other essential destinations everyday," said Leslie Richards, CEO and general manager at SEPTA. "Funding through this grant provides enhanced customer accessibility while also allowing SEPTA to invest in our frontline operators and provide them with the facilities they need to do their jobs safely."
Though ridership remains at only 50% of pre-pandemic levels, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch told WHYY that surging gas prices and discounts on weekly and monthly passes could bring more people back to public transit.
In fact, an increase in ridership has already been seen by SEPTA, with weekly pass sales up by 11%, CBS3 reported.
SEPTA recently announced service adjustments that went into effect at the end of February for more than 50 bus, subway, and trolley routes.
Though no routes have been discontinued, several routes will reduce services, while routes G and 70 will run more frequently, as ridership trends have shifted since the pandemic began.