SEPTA's response to demand for overnight subway service has the momentum that's missing from its efforts to dispense with Mesozoic token technology. The Inquirer reported this week that the agency plans to operate trains at all hours on weekends this summer in a welcome effort to take advantage of increased ridership and revived nightlife.
SEPTA's proposed operating budget for the next fiscal year includes funds to run the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines between midnight and 5 a.m., reintroducing service that was discontinued to cut costs in 1991. SEPTA's ridership recently reached its highest level in more than two decades, and its finances have improved thanks to transportation funding legislation championed by Gov. Corbett. Meanwhile, the city's growing population and bar and restaurant industry have produced recent calls for a restoration of wee-hours service.
There are no doubt security and other challenges to be addressed, which is why SEPTA's June-to-September trial period is appropriate. But expanding transit service is the right idea, putting Philadelphia in the good company of forward-looking cities that are embracing urban revival.