SEPTA will operate on a “lifeline” service schedule due to the growing outbreak of the new coronavirus in and around Philadelphia. The changes will be effective until further notice as of Thursday.
The General manager of SEPTA, Leslie Richards told reporters that the reduced schedule is to protect customers and employees as three employees of the Philadelphia region’s transportation authority have died from the coronavirus.
Last week, at least 16 SEPTA employees who worked at various sites tested positive, most of whom were at the Comly Depot, which saw seven cases, reports indicate.
The changes involve the closure of some stations. The lifeline service will cut bus, trolley, and train services to provide “access for essential workers traveling to hospitals, grocery stores and other life-sustaining services.”
SEPTA police will also make sure if riders are traveling for essential services. Riders must also wear masks or some sort of face protection.
“We are going to enforce. Not only can an operator of a vehicle refuse a rider who doesn’t have a mask on, we will also have members of our transit police making sure,” said Richards.
On the Regional Rail, SEPTA is suspending six rail lines: the Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, Manayunk/Norristown, West Trenton and Wilmington Newark lines.
The Paoli/Thorndale line will only operate between Center City and Malvern, while the Lansdale/Doylestown line will only operate between Center City and Lansdale.
And lastly, the Airport line will operate only every two hours.
The Norristown High Speed Line will operate on a Saturday schedule seven days a week.
Bus service will be down to about “60 core routes,” according to SEPTA. The routes will give riders access to essential services and connections to the Regional Rail Lines, as well as Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines.
As for the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines, they will operate on a Saturday schedule seven days a week, but service will be suspended from 1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. daily. Cash fare is no longer being accepted, so riders will have to use Quick Trip passes, which are available at kiosks.
Additionally, the following Market-Frankford stations will be closed:
- 2nd Street;
- 5th Street;
- 13th Street;
- 56th Street;
- 63rd Street;
The following Broad Street Line/Broad-Ridge Spur stations will be closed, as well:
- Spring Garden
Trolleys will run on a Saturday schedule seven days week.
Trolley stations at 13 Street, 19th Street, 33rd Street and 36th Street will be closed.
Bus service will replace the Route 101 trolley. The Route 102 trolley is still suspended.
SEPTA is still limiting ridership on buses, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed Line.
Only 20 riders are allowed on buses at a given time; trolleys will see 25 people at most; and the Norristown High Speed Line will allow just 30 riders.
SEPTA is having riders board buses, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed Line in the back. Riders who have disabilities and who are senior citizens will be able to board at the front doors.