November 12, 2020
SEPTA is replacing its overnight weekend service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway lines with bus transportation to provide greater time to clean and sanitize stations.
The change takes effect Sunday. Buses will run every 15 minutes between 12:30 and 5:30 a.m. on weekend nights. The Owl Bus Service previously only operated Monday through Friday.
Riders can board the buses from designated stops near the subway stations.
SEPTA announced the service changes in late October in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"This change reflects restrictions on late night and event activities across the city due to COVID-19 regulations and current ridership patterns," SEPTA noted in a press release. "With the lines shut down during overnight hours, SEPTA crews will be able to perform concentrated station cleanings, similar to what has been put into place on weekdays during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Additional service changes on the Broad Street Line will begin mid-week. Express service will operate before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. Local trains will be enhanced to run every seven minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Some bus routes also will be restored.
Those changes initially were made to correspond with an influx of students returning to school in person, but the School District of Philadelphia has since postponed its plans to bring students back.
The new schedule amounts to a modified spring schedule, an update from the current modified summer schedule. It reflects one of the biggest schedule updates since the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes last spring.