UPDATE 5/28/24: SEPTA's (Extra, Super, Actual) Final Vote on Bus Revolution

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UPDATE: On 5/23, SEPTA passed its Bus Revolution.

We know we have said it before, but it appears SEPTA's much-ballyhooed Bus Revolution is finally headed for a Board vote this Thursday, May 23 at 3pm.

Color image of a special SEPTA bus covered in a Bus Revolution with text reading "Join the Revolution" above the phrase "Fueled by Your Feedback" an QR code.

Like we reported a few months ago, this latest postponement came from city council intervention. Though that body has no formal authority over SEPTA's service patterns, their commentary did lead to a series of new public meetings, concentrated in council districts 4, 5, 7, and 8, which ran from mid-March to mid-April.

Following those meetings, SEPTA continued to respond to riders' concerns. At the risk of missing anything we simply paste what the agency shared on its website as of late April:

  • Restoration of Routes 16 and 32 along their original Routes

  • Restore the full-length alignment of Route 57

  • Reinstate Route H as Route 71

  • Extend Route 26 through East Falls to the new Wissahickon Transit Center

  • Reinstate Route 12 to 50th and Woodland

  • Extend Route 73 along Aramingo and Frankford Avenues (replacing route 25)

Click here to view all proposed route changes.
Sign up here to testify - one last time - on this route redesign.

From our years of engagement, these changes now reflect nearly all of the most-repeated concerns from riders - particularly in neighborhoods along North Broad and its western side in communities including Strawberry Mansion, Nicetown-Tioga, and West Oak Lane. Thousands more riders will be within a five-minute walk of frequent (15 minutes or less) bus service, through 30% more frequent routes across the system, while 99% of riders currently within a five-minute walk of frequent service will retain it

This continued adaptation is a positive sign: SEPTA is open to change, and responsive to its riders. But we also continue our refrain: a cost-neutral redesign will always be incomplete, while to make no changes is to accept decline.

Even among our own coalition, the proposed bus network redesign has produced conflicting responses from its outset. We have advocated now for over three years for a Better Bus Network, driven by riders. Through hundreds of meetings across all five counties it serves, SEPTA has stumbled toward that ambition and we know public engagement must be better - but we also have to start showing our work and make changes to our decades-old bus network.

Based on ridership, bus speeds, and on-time service reliability, we recognize that the current bus network is no longer serving riders. So this Bus Revolution must serve as a vital first step for a return to annual service reviews, and incremental adjustments to ensure our bus network continues to adapt to varied employment, cultural, and residential development patterns. SEPTA must work aggressively with the City of Philadelphia for each to recognize their respective roles in making the bus accessible, sustainable, and reliable.

And most of all, we must work together to force the hand of local, state, and national government to provide more money for service hours to expand the routes and frequency of buses across southeastern Pennsylvania.

If the Board vote passes, the Bus Revolution will be implemented starting in summer 2025, and continuing through the end of the year - over two years after it was initially promised to be rolled out. We will continue fighting to ensure implementation comes with consistent translation in signage and public events, and majorly improved accessibility in public outreach.

Click here to view all proposed route changes.
Sign up here to testify at SEPTA's vote on Bus Revolution.