A major Philadelphia transit artery is undergoing a series of small, but significant, changes to improve service and reliability.
The Route 47 Service Enhancement Pilot Project, a partnership between SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia, goes into effect April 18, 2011. That’s the first day Route 47 riders will see and experience changes – from stop consolidations to operational adjustments in bus deployment – aimed at tackling issues that lead to chronic delays for riders, as well as operational problems for SEPTA, due to the importance of the route. The Route 47 is SEPTA’s third busiest bus line, serving over 22,000 customers a day along a 10-mile stretch spanning South Philadelphia, Center City and North Philadelphia.
“The Route 47 is a vital part of SEPTA’s transit operations,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “The pilot project offers a unique opportunity to enhance customer service and make improvements in operations.”
The stop consolidation and relocation element of the pilot focuses on the portion of the route between Oregon Avenue and Market Street, where buses operate on tight neighborhood corridors along 7th and 8th Streets. The terrain alone is an operational challenge; add in a few double-parked cars, heavy rush hour traffic – and bus stops at every block – and the recipe for delays is complete.
Consolidating and relocating some stops is expected to help speed travel, with minimal inconvenience to riders. No rider will have to walk a block more than usual to catch their bus. SEPTA will also work to speed boarding times during peak travel periods by allowing riders with passes to board through rear doors at certain locations.
On-time performance data will be collected and evaluated throughout the pilot, which continues for six months, through October 20, 2011. “The great thing about a pilot project is that you get to try something and see if it will work,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler, who is also a member of the SEPTA Board.
Councilman Frank DiCicco, whose district includes areas where Route 47 stops will be consolidated, praised the effort: “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the City and SEPTA working so closely together to deliver better service to South Philadelphia.”
SEPTA launched a special section on its website devoted to the Route 47 Pilot. Click here for schedules, maps and other information about the initiative. Riders are also encouraged to ask questions and submit feedback through the online comment form. SEPTA Customer Service representatives are also available to answer questions by phone at (215) 580-7800.