Effective June 1, 2021, SEPTA will lift passenger capacity limits on vehicles that were put into place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mask requirements for customers and employees will remain in place until further notice.
“Removing vehicle capacity limits to meet increased ridership demand is a major step in the region’s recovery,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful for our riders who counted on SEPTA throughout the pandemic, and we are excited to safely welcome back those who may be taking the system for the first time in over a year.”
SEPTA’s decision to lift passenger capacity limits comes as new reported cases of COVID-19 continue to drop across the region and vaccination rates rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City of Philadelphia are easing capacity-related restrictions.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SEPTA has implemented protocols to enhance safety for customers and employees. SEPTA personnel have been actively engaging customers about the importance of wearing face coverings, and compliance with the mask mandate remains at a high level. The Authority will also continue with enhanced cleaning efforts for vehicles and stations.
SEPTA has also closely examined ventilation on its vehicles and has upgraded some air filters. SEPTA’s vehicles are very well ventilated – air fully changes on all vehicles every two-to-three minutes, due to a combination of efficient HVAC systems and doors opening frequently for customers to board and exit. This rate of air exchange far exceeds CDC recommendations for indoor public spaces.
While passenger limits will be lifted June 1, SEPTA has a new online tool that is designed to give customers information about seat availability as they plan their trips. The Estimated Seat Availability Dashboard is now on SEPTA’s website, with information available for most bus routes. This data will expand in the coming months to cover all of SEPTA’s modes of travel.
As a reminder, SEPTA urges riders to practice safe hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs, including wearing a mask properly, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and refraining from using SEPTA when feeling sick. For real-time service information, please visit septa.org or follow @SEPTA on Twitter.