Don't Sacrifice Rider and Operator Safety for Fare Revenue

SEPTA to end rear door boarding and increase service on May 17

Published: 3 minute read

The Philly Transit Riders Union is deeply concerned about SEPTA’s plan to cease rear door boarding on May 17th.

While we applaud the restoration of services scheduled for May 17th, SEPTA has chosen to pair it with a premature and dangerous return to front door boarding and collecting pre-pandemic fares. In an attempt to protect operators and riders, SEPTA has stated vehicles will be outfitted with a plastic shield and yellow tape to illustrate recommended social distancing. This is better than nothing but partial plastic shields and yellow tape still cannot stop an airborne virus. The best prevention we have is social distancing. The end of rear door boarding will mean that riders and operators will risk transmission of the virus many times a day, all for a $2.50 fare.

On May 17th, there will be no widespread testing or contact tracing. It’s just a date in the future. In the absence of compassion or competence from our governments, every public agency has a moral responsibility to resist a “reopening” based on nothing. The day before SEPTA made the announcement of the return to normal boarding, there were more than 2,500 deaths in one day from COVID-19 in the United States. The timeline for returning to front door boarding must be determined solely by our success against the virus. SEPTA must preserve the lifesaving policies of rear-door boarding.

One week after resuming fare collection, SEPTA will hold virtual hearings to raise fares. SEPTA has not responded to our request for a delay of any proposed fare increases and has not acknowledged our call for a reduced “recovery fare” to keep trains, buses and trolleys affordable as we all feel the ripple effect of the pandemic.

The transit riders’ union calls on the SEPTA board - and our elected officials - to find better ways to keep the essential service of transit funded than a fare hike, in the midst of a pandemic and a coming depression, in the poorest big city in America.

Sign on to the transit riders’ recovery plan


May 17th Service Changes

SEPTA service is scheduled to resume on Sunday, May 17th following the Spring Schedule.

Passenger Capacity will still be limited on vehicles.

40 ft buses will have a maximum capacity of 20 people.

60 ft (articulated) buses & the NHSL will have a capacity of 30 people.

Trolleys will have a capacity of be 25 people.

LUCY, Horsham Breeze & Route 204 buses will be limited to 10 people.

Regional Rail service will continue to operate on a lifeline schedule with reduced service. This week continue through the end of May.

The BSL & MFL will have increased service and only the current stations that are open will be served. As more personnel return to work, stations will reopen but there is no set date for that as of now.

Trolley Routes 101 will be operated a bus routes. Route 91 to Graterford and Route 102 will not operate. Routes 204, 310, 311, and LUCY Gold and Green Routes will operate on a reduced schedule.

Beginning Sunday May 10th, The Airport Line will be operated with shuttle buses from 30th St to the Airport. Wilmington/Newark service will operate every 2 hrs while Media/Elwyn service is suspended during the Southwest Connection Improvement Program.

Service on the Media/Elwyn line will resume on May 31st

Please only ride if you have to. Please wear some kind of face covering. If you need a mask ask us.