PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Residents marched Tuesday night to protest the closing of the Market-Frankford El’s Somerset Station for cleanup and repairs. They call the stop a community lifeline.
On Tuesday night, hundreds gathered in Kensington to protest SEPTA’s decision to temporarily close the Somerset Station along the Market-Frankford Line.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police: 25-Year-Old Man Fatally Struck By Vehicle That Ran Red Light In East Falls
SEPTA says the closure is necessary for repairs.
“The elevators, due to urination, due to needles jammed in certain parts of the elevators, have stopped working,” SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards said.
But organizers of the March for Safety and Solutions say the shutdown disproportionately affects a community that relies on public transportation, walking up Kensington Avenue to highlight the route those impacted must now take to access the subway.
Dozens are gathering to protest the closing of @SEPTA’s Somerset station in #Kensington. One group leader says without a shuttle option it’s disproportionately affecting low-income riders. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/fUYLeeDJ9H
— Alicia Roberts (@ARobertsCBS) March 23, 2021
“If you’re asking people who are maybe already walking to the train station to add 10 or 15 minutes to their walk, that’s a huge burden,” Tiffany Hudson with Impact Services said.
Supporters argue it’s just the latest hit for a part of our city already underserved.READ MORE: WATCH: Country Music Star Jimmie Allen Apologizes To Eagles Fans For Fishing With Cowboys' Dak Prescott
“This community has been disinvested in for the last 40 years,” Cass Green with We Can said.
They say SEPTA isn’t providing support as it has done for other transit riders.
“When the Media-Elwyn line had problems, and certain stations were closed, they put shuttle buses, free for the people,” Steve Grosswald, executive director of Mission Philadelphia, said. “Why is it that when it’s in a poor area, OK, there are no shuttle buses?”
For those who marched, they say, it’s just a first step.
“People here need to be able to access transportation and we need a plan, right? There is no plan of action,” Green said.
SEPTA says it will use the shutdown to develop a strategy to improve safety and security.
There’s no timeline on when the Somerset Station will reopen.
Impacted residents can take the Route 3 bus, which runs along Kensington Avenue, to get to stations along the Market-Frankford Line.MORE NEWS: Family, Friends Celebrate World War II Veteran's Birthday In Burlington County
CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.