PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA is making major changes across all transportation services after a third employee died from the coronavirus. Beginning Thursday, SEPTA will operate on a “life service schedule.”
The changes include closing 10 Market-Frankford Line stations and eight Broad Street Line and Broad-Ridge Spur stations while also limiting bus and trolley service.
Officials say SEPTA police will engage with customers to ensure they’re traveling for essential purposes.
“Everyone else, we’re asking you to stay home. Because in order for us to provide room for customers, operators and workers to travel safely, we only want those that need us to be on our system now,” SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards said.
Eighteen Market-Frankford Line stations will remain open, while 16 Broad Street Line/Ridge-Spur stations will close. Bus and trolley service will be limited to 60 core routes, SEPTA says.
The station closures include:
- Market-Frankford Line: Church, Tioga, Somerset, York-Dauphin, 2nd Street, 5th Street, 13th Street, 56th Street, 63rd Street and Millbourne.
- Broad Street Line/Ridge Spur: Tasker-Morris, Lombard-South, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Susquehanna-Dauphin, Wyoming, Logan and Chinatown.
SEPTA says all operating buses, subways and trolleys will continue to run on a Saturday schedule and open Regional Rail service will run every two hours.
About half of SEPTA’s trolley stations in the Center City tunnel will close. The Route 101 trolley in Delaware County will operate with bus service and the Route 102 trolley is still suspended.
Bus routes were prioritized by access to essential services and routes that make connections with Broad Street, Market-Frankford and Regional Rail services.
SEPTA says Regional Rail services’ six lines — Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, Manayunk/Norristown, West Trenton and Wilmington Newark Lines — have been suspended, while two other lines have been shortened.
There are no changes on the Norristown High Speed Line.
Richards points out all front-line employees, like drivers and cashiers, now have access to masks and other personal protection equipment.
Also, starting Thursday, anyone riding the system must also wear some form of a face covering.
“We are going to enforce. Not only can an operator of a vehicle refuse a rider who doesn’t have a mask on, we will also have members of our transit police making sure,” Richards said.
Richards understands the concerns and hopes this reduction in service helps limit the spread of this deadly virus.
“This reduced schedule is to protect our customers but also to protect our employees just as much,” she said.
For more information on these changes, click here.
CBS3’s Greg Argos contributed to this report.