Direct Bus is First Part of Overall Effort to Improve Service Throughout SEPTA Bus Network
SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia today announced that Boulevard Direct bus service – a first step in an overall initiative to improve travel for all bus riders – will launch Oct. 22 along Roosevelt Boulevard, featuring 10 new stations with modern amenities for riders at stops within the City.
Boulevard Direct will be the first route operating under the new SEPTA “Direct Bus” brand. It will offer frequent service and fewer stops than current Route 14 bus service between Frankford Transportation Center and Neshaminy Mall. The launch of Boulevard Direct service comes as SEPTA is conducting its first comprehensive review of the entire bus network. As part of this process, SEPTA will look at opportunities to add similar Direct Bus service to other parts of the city and region.
“SEPTA is excited to introduce Direct Bus service with the launch of Boulevard Direct, which will provide riders along this busy corridor with an option for saving valuable travel time,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “This new service is the result of a great partnership between SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia that will continue as we look at additional ways to enhance service throughout the SEPTA bus network.”
The City has added 10 new stations – two at each intersection within Philadelphia to accommodate riders traveling in both directions – with amenities carefully selected to create community assets. The stations feature new plazas and curbs, ADA ramps, bus shelters that serve both Route 14 and Boulevard Direct customers, free standing bench seating, pedestrian-scale lighting, landscaping, solar trash and recycling receptacles and way-finding signage.
“Every day, more than 10,000 people ride the Route 14 bus along Roosevelt Boulevard, with only a bus sign serving as a station,” said Mayor Kenney. “Now, along with the Boulevard Direct service, we have 10 beautiful new bus stations along Roosevelt Boulevard, with lighting and shelters, benches and trees, creating a sense of place that was missing.”
The new Boulevard Direct service will be an enhancement to SEPTA Route 14 bus service, which will also continue to operate along Roosevelt Boulevard. Boulevard Direct will operate to-and-from a total of eight stops: Frankford Transportation Center, Cottman Avenue, Rhawn Street, Welsh Road, Grant Avenue, Red Lion Road, Neshaminy Interplex and the Neshaminy Mall. The Route 14 follows this same 10-mile stretch, however, it makes over 80 stops. By limiting stops to eight strategic locations along the line, the average Boulevard Direct trip from end-to-end will take approximately 30 minutes, compared to 47 minutes on a Route 14 bus.
Efforts to improve safety on Roosevelt Boulevard are a focus for the City of Philadelphia. “The City’s recently released Three-Year Vision Zero Action Plan highlights the need for change on Roosevelt Boulevard,” said Mike DiBerardinis, Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia. “We are all encouraged to see change happening on the Boulevard, where transit riders waiting for the bus are more visible.”
Stop locations for Boulevard Direct service were selected based on SEPTA customer feedback and ridership analysis. The eight stops account for half of all bus riders along Roosevelt Boulevard. The stops also intersect with existing bus connections for those riders needing to transfer. Here are other important service details:
- During peak rush hour travel on weekdays between 7-9 am and 3-6 pm, Boulevard Direct buses will run every 10 minutes, with service during most other time periods every 15 minutes.
- SEPTA will offer a free interchange at all designated Boulevard Direct stops (except Frankford Transportation Center) for connections to/from Route 14 service for same direction of travel.
- Boulevard Direct service will operate with a dedicated fleet of 60-foot articulated buses that will be easily recognized with Direct Bus branding. These larger buses accommodate a higher passenger volume, and are all diesel-electric hybrids.
- All regular SEPTA transit fares will be accepted for Boulevard Direct service.
- For schedule details, please visit https://www.septa.org/directbus/index.html.
One of the most incredible parts of this project was the expedited timeline. In the summer of 2016, the City of Philadelphia secured approximately $2 million in competitive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) federal funding for the bus station construction. Within less than 18 months, the vision of new transit service became a reality.
Boulevard Direct is a component of the multi-agency Roosevelt Boulevard “Route for Change” program developed as part of a partnership between the City, SEPTA, and PennDOT to create a more inviting Roosevelt Boulevard corridor that is safe, accessible, and reliable for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists.
As a Route for Change partner with the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA, PennDOT is also in the process of improving Roosevelt Boulevard by repairing and resurfacing 12 miles of the outer lanes between 9th Street and the Bucks County line. “PennDOT values its successful working relationship with the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA as we strive to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and visit this world-class city,” said Kenneth M. McClain, District Executive for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) District 6. “On behalf of Governor Wolf and Secretary Richards, we are encouraged by the collaboration and cooperation between our agencies to bring change to Roosevelt Boulevard.”
For more information about Boulevard Direct service, visit https://www.septa.org/directbus/index.html.