02/23/22 News: Next Steps For Our Rider-Driven Bus Network Survey

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Transit Foward Philly Officially Closes Its Bus Rider Survey + Next Steps

Transit Forward Philadelphia’s rider-driven bus network survey officially closed on December 31st, 2021. Thank you to everyone who took the survey and took the time to speak with us about your experiences riding the bus. We began our Better Access Better Service Better Buses Campaign Survey in July of 2021, and it was available online and at in-person events over the last six months.

Our goals for the survey were to find out how well the bus network is currently serving riders, what does better bus service look like for riders, and how willing they would be to support changes to the bus network. Most SEPTA riders said they want fast, frequent, and reliable bus service. Safety and cleanliness were the two other significant concerns we heard a lot about. We’ll be using the survey results to hold SEPTA accountable to ensure that their Bus Revolution project prioritizes the needs of BIPOC communities and puts riders first. 

We engaged hundreds of riders in person during our survey campaign at over 20 canvassing events throughout the city. We set up tables at some of the system’s busiest stops, including Pier 70 in South Philadelphia, the Parkside Loop in West Philadelphia, Whitman Plaza in Southeast Philadelphia, and the Frankford Transportation Center. We spent the first two months of the survey canvassing and talking to riders at various bus stops in Center City and near Mifflin Square Park, at the Olney and 69th Street Transportation Centers, and stops near Broad and Erie, as well as 52nd and Market. We focused our canvassing efforts in bus-reliant neighborhoods and locations where we could gather data from individuals representing low-income households, communities of color, people with disabilities, immigrant communities, and essential and blue-collar workers. 

We spoke to over 500 people at our various tabling and canvassing events and had over 250 people take the survey in person, while another 120 people took a flyer from us and completed the survey later online. This level of engagement brought us to a statistically significant number of responses from bus-reliant neighborhoods. Our online survey engaged close to 2,100 riders, bringing us to a total of 2,456 total respondents. 

A team at Temple University’s Institute of Survey Research is currently analyzing the data and providing a comprehensive analysis and complete report that will be available to the public and presented to the SEPTA Board and Philadelphia City Council. The report will focus on bus riders’ transportation preferences and gauge bus riders’ tolerance for change to the current bus network. The results will be broken down by neighborhood, allowing us to understand different communities' unique needs and preferences.

We then will take the data in the report and collaborate with a few City Councilmembers to introduce a Transit Priority Resolution for the City of Philadelphia. We aim to ensure that our current and next Mayor understand the need for transit improvements and make the Bus Revolution project a priority for the city. The Philadelphia Transit Plan: A Vision for 2045 and our survey results will serve as the foundation for the Transit Priority Resolution. Our goal is to shine a light on the racial disparities and barriers to economic opportunity within our transit system and ensure that the City and SEPTA work together to undo these obstacles. 

Finally, we will present our report to the SEPTA Board and hold the agency accountable in ensuring that the redesign prioritizes riders, specifically BIPOC neighborhoods, low-income communities, people with disabilities, the elderly, and non-English speaking Philadelphians.

The complete report will be released in the Winter of 2022. Stay up to date on the news about the report and our campaigns by following us on Twitter at @Transit4Philly or signing up for our email list here.