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New SEPTA bus services planned for city and burbs

A branded bus line for Roosevelt Boulevard. Direct bus service to University City from two neighborhoods that lack it now. Easier access to Wayne Junction Station. Open houses held Monday introduced four proposals from SEPTA that could make some big changes in the city's bus service in the next two years. It's common sense that these changes might come because existing service is either overtaxed or out of step with where people want to go.

The 2017 service plan includes projects likely to become a reality in the coming fiscal year, from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. All the projects involve bus service, either adding new routes or changing existing ones. Costs are still up in the air for most of these projects. Their planning just isn't at that stage yet. They also all need the approval of SEPTA's board before they become a reality. Between then and now there will be public meetings and adjustments to the proposals below, but these plans were presented as SEPTA's near term priorities at the introduction of its newest $1.4 billion budget.


Plan: A new bus line that will supplement existing bus service fon Roosevelt Boulevard. This line, which would have a new name and would be serviced by vehicles with a different appearance than standard SEPTA buses, would have only six stops between the Frankford Transportation Center and the Neshaminy Mall, shown below. The six stops, Cottman Avenue, Rhawn Street, Welsh Road, Grant Avenue, Red Lion Road and Neshaminy Interplex, would also get new bus shelters, if the plan goes through. Buses would run at least every 10 minutes.

Why: Roosevelt Boulevard is heavily traveled, said Dan Nemiroff, a SEPTA senior operations planner, with several thousand people using the existing bus routes, the 14, 1, 20 and 50, along the road each day. Half of all the activity on existing bus service happens at one of those six stops, Nemiroff said. SEPTA is anticipating about 4,500 new riders on express bus' the 10.8 mile proposed route.

When: If approved, possibly fall 2017.


 Plan: Divide an 11 mile route in two that currently runs through Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland, Horsham and Abington, providing service from the Willow Grove Mall to shopping centers and office parks in the area. The two new routes will each be about seven miles long. One of the new routes will travel between the mall and the southern stops (in green). The other will go from the same starting point, but service the northern stops (in gray). The split routes would provide more service than exists today.

Here's the present route:

And here's the proposed split:

Why: The existing route is a long one, almost an hour, and it takes people boarding at the office parks, which include UPS and Prudential, on a roundabout route to get them to their destination. The buses service about 950 passengers a day, and they're getting overcrowded.

When: If approved, this fall


Plan: Create a single bus service that would travel from Grays Ferry to Fairmount, with stops in University City. The route would give University City workers living in those neighborhoods a direct path to their jobs. The route would also include a stop at 30th Street Station. The 7.5 mile route would not be an all night service, but SEPTA officials said they are communicating with hospitals in University City to determine how to schedule buses that would service their night staff. To ride from one end to the other would take about an hour, but SEPTA expects most people would be traveling into University City, the middle of the route, from either end.

Why: Residents in Grays Ferry, Brewerytown and Fairmont have been clamoring for bus service to University City for the past five years, said Anita Davidson, an operations planner for SEPTA. Employment in the area has skyrocketed, from 55,000 in 2007 to 75,000 in 2015, and public transportation offers no direct route from those neighborhoods to this booming part of the city.

When: The route depicted here is likely not going to be the final one, Davidson said. There's a lot of outreach that needs to happen before a final proposal can go before the board, but she's looking at fall 2017 for this route's debut.


Plan: Extend the Route 2 bus service to Wayne Junction Station, which provides access to regional rail. The half mile extension to the route that begins at 20th and Oregon Avenue would be an alternative to the current one that loops near Hunting Park. Both destinations will continue to be served.

Why: Getting out to jobs in the suburbs is just too hard for many Philadelphia residents, and this half mile extension to the existing bus route will give make it easier for many in North Philadelphia to get to work. Wayne Junction Station was recently rehabbed and SEPTA is looking to improve access to this potential transportation hub.

When: Fall 2016