SEPTA held two public hearings Monday on a series of proposed minor bus route changes and service reductions. The changes would affect city transit routes 24, 26, 31, 38, 60 and 483. They would also impact suburban transit routes 95, 104, 117, 127 and 128.
The alterations are mostly minor and were proposed to make operations easier or to better connect SEPTA riders with local amenities like shopping centers.
SEPTA is also proposing eliminating routes 420, 421, 423, 455, 470 and 479. Those routes were designed to serve school children but are no longer needed because the schools they serve have been closed.
Federal regulations prohibit SEPTA from offering charter service to the Philadelphia School District. Instead, it establishes 400-series routes that accept all passengers but are primarily designed to serve students.
In a sparsely attended morning hearing, the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers supported the changes and applauded SEPTA for using a formal public hearing process to implement even minor route changes, arguing that doing so gives the public an opportunity to provide input.
Communications director Andy Sharpe suggested SEPTA market and promote Route 38, which runs between Wissahickon Transportation Center and Independence Mall. The route covers a number of tourist destinations, and the proposed tariff changes would make permanent an experimental change that routes the bus to the Please Touch Museum. He suggested that SEPTA should use the service as a tourist bus to both out-of-town visitors and local residents.
Sharpe also asked SEPTA to talk with the city to mitigate the effects of proposed changes to Route 31 that take it farther away from a transfer point with the Market-Frankford El and trolley lines. Route 31 runs between Overbrook Park and Center City, and the city has asked SEPTA to change routing of the bus around City Hall because of traffic problems.
SEPTA is holding another public hearing on the proposed changes Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Bucks County Community College. Independent hearing examiner Joseph O’Malley will also be taking written comments to the proposals until 4 p.m. Aug. 2. He will then write a set of recommendations to the SEPTA Board. The board will probably vote on the changes at its September meeting. A full list of the proposal, and a comment form, can be found here (http://www.septa.org/notice/asp/hearings