South Philly Review: SEPTA building 2 local bus centers

Two new SEPTA bus centers are coming to South Philly.

U.S. Reps. Dwight Evans (D-3rd dist.) and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-5th dist.) announced a $9.8 million federal grant for SEPTA to design and construct two dedicated end-of-route bus layover facilities at two locations in South Philadelphia.

The centers are proposed to be constructed near Pier 70 off of Christopher Columbus Boulevard and at the intersection of 3rd Street and Oregon Avenue.

The two bus centers will serve a combined nine bus routes that travel through parts of South Philly.

“Investments in public transportation are key to future economic growth in our region — helping more people get to and from work, as well as increasing access to commercial centers like those in South Philadelphia near the proposed facility sites,” Scanlon said. “Thanks to this grant, SEPTA will be able to improve the travel experience for riders and provide a better work experience for operators. It’s a win-win.”

Bus routes traveling east and west will utilize the Pier 70 location. Those routes include the G, 7, 29, 64 and 79 Routes.

Routes traveling north and south will use the 3rd and Oregon location. Those routes include the 25, 47, 47M and 57 Routes. Prior to the start of the pandemic, the nine routes mentioned provided 65,000 daily trips, according to SEPTA.

SEPTA officials say having dedicated, permanent facilities under its control will also allow for savings in maintenance and rental costs that when coupled with modest route modifications will yield nearly $4 million of savings in operating costs annually. The new facilities will include disability-accessible bus stops with benches, shelters, signage, lighting, safety enhancements and bathroom facilities for SEPTA bus operators.

“I’m pleased that more federal funding I voted for is coming back to Philadelphia to improve SEPTA service,” Evans said. “And even more funding for SEPTA and other transportation projects will be on the way, thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that I voted for.”

Construction of the transportation centers will have the advantage of facilitating SEPTA’s Bus Revolution, an ongoing comprehensive redesign of its bus network.

“SEPTA’s bus network is vital to mobility in our city and region, connecting hundreds of thousands of riders to work, school, medical appointments and other essential destinations every day,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “Funding through this grant provides enhanced customer accessibility while also allowing SEPTA to invest in our frontline operators and provide them with the facilities they need to do their jobs safely. We are grateful for the support of Reps. Evans and Scanlon for making this funding possible and appreciate the City of Philadelphia for partnering with us on this important project.”