SEPTA today announced the launch of “SEPTA Forward: Bus Revolution,” a comprehensive redesign of its entire bus network that will improve the overall rider experience and make the bus network reliable, efficient and simpler to understand and use.
The three-year project will take a holistic look at SEPTA’s bus network throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.
“Buses are a critical part of our transit system, and an indispensable lifeline to work, school and more for many people in our region,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards. “The Bus Revolution project provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that our system better meets the needs of residents and business in our area. As we plan for a future focused on equity, environment and economy, a strong bus network can improve quality of life not just for our riders, but also for everyone who lives and works in the region.”
This initiative is part of SEPTA’s wider strategic plan, SEPTA Forward, which sets the goal of building a better, more equitable future for the Philadelphia region by transforming SEPTA into a service that is for everyone, regardless of familiarity, language, or ability. Under this project, SEPTA will seek public and stakeholder input on issues such as bus routing, bus stop spacing, frequency, and span of service. Every bus route, whether in the city or suburbs, is open for review and consideration.
The current bus network has not been significantly altered in decades, but the city and region -and the needs of the community–have changed. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted ridership patterns requiring a hard look at how to recover and move forward.
The Bus Revolution’s blank-slate approach will enable a transformation of the bus network using existing resources and building on the assets SEPTA already has, with the goal of creating a bus network that meets the evolving needs of the people–and our environment–now and into the future. SEPTA expects to have the network redesign completed and in place by the end of 2023.
The project has a robust customer-and community-engagement component that will include the City of Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties-Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery. Extensive and inclusive public outreach will be conducted at every stage of the project.
The first year of the project will feature two-way conversations with SEPTA riders and key stakeholders about their needs and concerns, along with collecting data, evaluating the region’s transit needs and analyzing all of the SEPTA bus routes. Activities in Year 2 include developing a range of options for improving bus service, getting public input on them, and creating a final set of recommendations. In the final year, SEPTA will implement the recommendations.
All along the way, there will be numerous opportunities for the public to ask questions or share comments about the project. SEPTA and its consultant team will use a range of tools to gather input and feedback, including stakeholder interviews, surveys, workshops, public meetings, pop-up events and other activities.
For more information on Bus Revolution, please visit https://www.septabusrevolution.com.
SEPTA is leading this project through a collaboration between its Service Planning, Long Range Planning and Operations departments. To support this effort, SEPTA enlisted a team of consultants led by Nelson\Nygaard to carry out the technical work alongside the stakeholder and community engagement. Nelson\Nygaard is a national transit planning firm that has done similar projects in other places, including Boston, Pittsburgh, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle. Supporting the engagement and outreach efforts are Connect the Dots, Portfolio Associates, and Merit. Supporting the technical efforts are firms Michael Baker, Fehr & Peers, and Walker Consultants. The consultant team will help SEPTA take a fresh perspective on the network and provide the resources needed for this once-in-a generation effort.