Hearings provide last chance for feedback on SEPTA’s Bus Revolution plan

Bus Revolution septa
SEPTA is in the midst of a yearslong project to redesign its bus network.
Melissa Mitman

Time is running out to provide feedback on Bus Revolution, SEPTA’s redesign of the region’s bus network.

Riders who want to weigh in on the final draft plan must attend one of 10 in-person or virtual hearings or submit their comments by the end of September, transit officials said.

Changes are coming to most routes. Some will be discontinued, while new ones are also being proposed.

The final draft, released earlier this month, cuts SEPTA’s total number of bus routes from 125 to 106. Ten more routes would be designated as frequent, meaning buses come at least every 15 minutes for most of the day.

Eight microtransit zones would be established in the suburbs, replacing some low ridership routes. In these areas, people will be able to request a ride on-demand to another location within the same zone.

Maps showing the proposed network, along with a digital booklet containing detailed descriptions about changes to each route, are posted at septabusrevolution.com.

The redesign is revenue-neutral, utilizing the same number of employees and vehicles SEPTA uses to operate the system now.

Though there was talk about bus stop consolidation early in the process, SEPTA plans to set up the new network before addressing stop spacing, authority spokesperson Andrew Busch told Metro.

The formal hearings begin Tuesday and continue through Sept. 28. An examiner will review the meetings and submit recommendations to SEPTA administrators, who expect to present the plan for a board vote before the end of the year.

If approved, Bus Revolution will be implemented beginning summer 2024, according to transit officials.

“Our hope is that the major changes have already been made,” Busch said Sunday. “We’ll see what comes up and what kind of feedback we get from folks starting this week and go from there. We are pretty confident that we have a solid plan.”

Bus Revolution’s final draft was released to the public Sept. 1 following four rounds of community engagement over two years.

An initial draft, pushed out in October 2022, received criticism from riders who would have had to transfer instead of having a one-seat trip. Some said they feared having to board the Market-Frankford or Broad Street line.

SEPTA planners posted a revised plan in March and scheduled another round of feedback before issuing the newest proposal.

Bus Revolution is the first major bus route overhaul since the authority was formed in the 1960s. SEPTA leaders have cited a 15% drop in bus ridership between 2013 and 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered commuting patterns — as a motivating factor in deciding to realign the network.

Transit officials said they hope the reconfigured route system is more reliable, faster and easier to understand.

Below is information about the upcoming hearings.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 12 (5 to 8 p.m.): SEPTA headquarters, 1234 Market St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 (noon to 2 p.m.): Virtual
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 (5 to 7 p.m.): Virtual
  • Thursday, Sept. 14 (6 to 8 p.m.): Bucks County Community College – Bristol Campus, 1304 Veterans Highway
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19 (6 to 8 p.m.): West Chester University – Sykes Theater, 110 W. Rosedale Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20 (6 to 8 p.m.): Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 21 (5 to 7 p.m.): Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St,
  • Tuesday, Sept. 26 (6 to 8 p.m.): Chester City Hall, 1 E. 4th St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27 (5 to 8 p.m.): SEPTA headquarters, 1234 Market St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 28 (6 to 8 p.m.): Upper Darby Township Building, 100 Garret Road

Residents can also submit feedback through a form at septabusrevolution.com or by emailing [email protected]. The comment period closes Sept. 30.