The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will be able to further expand its Direct Bus service to Hunting Park Avenue after receiving a $2 million federal grant.
Funding from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will allow SEPTA to design and construct Phase B of its Boulevard Direct bus service and provide high-frequency, limited stop service between Frankford Transportation Center and Wissahickon Transportation Center. The FTA awarded a total of $423 million to 94 projects in 42 states during the most recent round of bus and bus facilities grants.
The city of Philadelphia previously identified a combination of federal, state and local funds to design and construct new Direct Bus stations at six locations on Roosevelt Boulevard, including a direct connection to Hunting Park Station on the Broad Street Line. The Bus and Bus Facilities grant will enable Boulevard Direct Phase B service to connect to Wissahickon Transportation Center by funding site improvements and passenger amenities at locations on Hunting Park Avenue and Ridge Avenue.
"I congratulate SEPTA on receiving this funding award to fully realize Direct Bus connections from the Hunting Park Station on the Broad Street Line to Wissahickon Transportation Center in Northwest Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. "In CONNECT, Philadelphia's Strategic Transportation Plan, we've committed to transforming bus service in Philadelphia, and we are pleased with the tremendous success of the first phase of Direct Bus service along Roosevelt Boulevard."
SEPTA and the city of Philadelphia introduced Boulevard Direct in October 2017 as an initial part of the federally funded Route for Change project, as well as SEPTA's own network optimization plans. SEPTA is seeking to build on that success by extending Direct Bus service to the southern portion of Roosevelt Boulevard and along Hunting Park and Ridge Avenues.
"I am pleased that SEPTA received this grant to make necessary improvements and further develop Direct Bus service," said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). "The funding will allow SEPTA to construct new bus stations and connect high capacity transit centers, which will reduce travel times and increase service reliability. I was proud to advocate on behalf of SEPTA in their efforts to secure this grant and will continue to make transportation and economic development in Pennsylvania top priorities."
Each stop on the route extension will feature ADA compliant ramps and curbs and upgraded passenger amenities including new plazas, landscaping, bus shelters, benches, lighting and real-time information.
In its first two years, existing Boulevard Direct Service (Phase A) from Frankford Transportation Center to the Neshaminy Mall has reduced travel times and generated a five percent net increase in ridership on the corridor, according to SEPTA, and says it expects similar results when Phase B is implemented by the end of 2022.
"We are grateful to the members of our congressional delegation for their support of SEPTA's application, and their efforts to fund transit projects that improve mobility in our region," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "Boulevard Direct Phase B will reduce travel times and increase service reliability between two vital transportation centers, and we look forward to working with the city to launch this valuable service for our customers."