By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Septa may consider splitting its longest bus route in half. That idea is among a dozen possible tweaks that the regional transit agency is looking at, and the public got to weigh in today at an open house at Septa headquarters.
In Septa’s board room, about a dozen large poster boards explained the dozen ideas that are being considered. Senior operations planner Dan Nemiroff says getting the public’s input is essential.
“We let the public have a look at what we’re doing. We answer any questions they have. We solicit more feedback,” he said.
After this comes more analysis, and at that point some of the proposed tweaks become formal recommendations — with more public hearings set for spring.
Nemiroff says many of the ideas came from riders and civic groups.
“When we get these suggestions, a lot of them turn out to be expensive. But some of them are good ideas that at least deserve research and analysis,” he notes.
Among the ideas being talked about at this point, Nemiroff says, is splitting the Route 23 bus line in half:
“It goes from Chestnut Hill to South Philadelphia. It carries our highest number of passengers by quite a bit, about 22,000 a day.”
Under the proposed change, the northern portion of Route 23 would terminate in center city and then loop back to Chestnut Hill, while a newly named Route 45 bus would start in South Philadelphia and then loop around in center city.
Nemiroff says only eight percent of Route 23 riders use the entire stretch, so most wouldn’t notice the change.
“It does not impact about 92 percent of the users of the route,” he said. “And transfers would be free.”
Another proposed change is an extension of Route 53, which goes from Mt. Airy to Hunting Park Station.
“It would fill a gap in the North Philadelphia bus network,” says Nemiroff. “It would cover a piece of Hunting Park that is developing. There’s a bunch of new projects on Hunting Park (Avenue).”
And Septa is also considering extending a few bus routes into Queen Village. A full list of the possible changes, and an opportunity to submit your own comment, can be found at septa.org.