By splitting its busiest bus route into two separate, shorter routes, SEPTA plans to reduce delays for more than 21,000 daily riders on Bus Route 23. Beginning with the first AM trip on Sunday, November 29, 2015, the following new service patterns will take effect, affecting riders from Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, North Philadelphia, Center City, and South Philadelphia:
- Route 23: The current route will continue running between Chestnut Hill and Center City via Germantown Avenue and 11th and 12th Streets. Southbound service will end at Walnut Street. Northbound trips will begin on 11th Street between Market and Filbert Streets.
- New Route 45: This new route will serve the portion of Route 23 that currently operates between Broad and Oregon and 11th and Noble Streets. The new route will begin and end on Noble Street near 12th.
Customers are currently served by a single line, Route 23, which travels nearly 14 miles in each direction. Traffic congestion on Germantown Avenue and 11th and 12th Streets has historically reduced the ability for buses on the route to operate on schedule. “These changes will result in more reliable bus service for the thousands of riders traveling to work, school, shopping, and medical appointments,” said General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel.
After considering feedback from riders and community members, SEPTA has decided to split the long route into two shorter segments, enhancing their ability to maintain schedule, which will improve travel reliability and predictability for passengers.
Although most riders are traveling to and from Center City, when Route 23/Route 45 service begins, a small number of customers will need to transfer between the routes to complete their trips. Riders using a cash fare or a token can request a transfer at no charge when leaving the bus at five locations; Market, Arch, Race, Vine, and Callowhill Streets. Riders using a pass will just make an additional swipe upon transferring.
It is important for riders to know that no service reductions are being made with this change. In fact, Route 23/Route 45 schedules have been enhanced to offer additional off-peak trips in the afternoon and evenings. During rush hour, buses will arrive at stops on each route as often as every six minutes. Overnight OWL service has also been enhanced on the Route 23 schedule.
An informational campaign is underway to inform riders of the upcoming service changes. It features a fully-wrapped 40-foot bus ad announcing “New Route 45” that is traveling on current Route 23. Transit ads, brochures, and social media messages have also been distributed with the launch of a new website at https://www.septa.org/schedules/23-45.html featuring links to downloadable schedules for both routes. During the week of the change, SEPTA “Ambassadors” will be posted at key transfer locations to assist travelers. Passengers with additional questions can contact SEPTA Customer Service via phone at 215-580-7800 and on Twitter @septa_social.