By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Septa has decided to bring back 24-hour weekend service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines.

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The trains will replace “Nite Owl” buses, beginning just after midnight on June 15th.

Septa general manager Joe Casey says safety concerns and low ridership prompted Septa to replace overnight train service with buses back in 1991.  But he says there now appears to be a healthy demand again for trains.

“It’s vibrant now,” he says.  “There’s a lot of fantastic, world-class restaurants downtown, and people are frequenting them.  And we need to respond to that.”

Boston recently did the same thing and saw its overnight ridership quadruple.

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After-midnight trains will run every 20 minutes.  Not all stops will have cashiers, so late-night riders should plan to have exact change.

Casey says extra Septa transit police will be on patrol throughout the summer as officials monitor the progress of this pilot program.

“We will evaluate ridership, cost, safety, and other factors to determine if this service will continue past Labor Day,” he said today.


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