As a 6 a.m. curfew was lifted following yet another night of unrest, a handful of people found their way onto the first Megabus from Philadelphia to New York City since March as limited service resumed Monday.

“I’m happy to be back,” said Neil Quick, 33, a dispatcher for Megabus. “It feels good to come back, one step toward being normal.”

Megabus suspended service in and out of New York in late March as COVID-19 cases mounted. The decision to restore service comes as stay-at-home orders start to ease, according to the company.

A reduced schedule for service to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington resumed Monday, with safety of passengers the company’s “top priority,” Sean Hughes, director of corporate affairs for Coach USA North America, said in a statement last week.

The Philadelphia region is slated to move into a “yellow” reopening phase Friday, although the violence that ensued after peaceful protests of the murder of George Floyd could change that, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

Five passengers lined up for the 8:05 a.m bus. Kayana Guity, 24, paid $30 for an Uber ride to get from her South Philly home to the pickup stop outside 30th Street Station. She plans to meet up with friends, then head to upstate New York for a socially distanced cabin trip. Costs vary, but trips to New York are now priced around $10.

“I’m also a little nervous, to be honest, because, you know, corona,” Guity said.

Passengers wait for Megabus to arrive along JFK Blvd west of 30th Street Station. Limited service between Philadelphia and New York City resumed Monday.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Passengers wait for Megabus to arrive along JFK Blvd west of 30th Street Station. Limited service between Philadelphia and New York City resumed Monday.

Leon Dion, who’s from New York but has a house in West Philadelphia, doesn’t have a car. He relies on the service as a “lifeline,” connecting him with his family. He took the Market-Frankford Line from his home, bypassing destruction and cleanup efforts along 52nd Street on the way.

“My heart just wants to go back,” Dion said. “I just want to go back to New York.”

Riders at the 30th Street stop Monday morning were greeted by a sandwich board outlining safety procedures for passengers. In mid-May, the company began requiring passengers to wear masks when they’re not able to social distance. Megabus has also reduced the number of available seats and enhanced cleaning procedures.

The Megabus joined the trickle of whatever rush-hour traffic has returned to the region’s roadways, pulling out of the pickup and dropoff spot otherwise swallowed by construction along John F. Kennedy Boulevard at 8:15. Its scheduled stop at Sixth and Market Streets was temporarily unavailable Monday because of street closures.

Additional buses to New York were set to depart at 12:05, 4:05, and 8:05 p.m. The bus between the two cities is one of its “most popular routes among our network of over 100 cities across North America,” according to the company’s website.

Quick called the route “the money-maker,” while William Diez, district operations manager, said popularity stems from its function as a commuter route.

“Without the customer, we have no jobs,” he said. “That’s how I look at it.”