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SEPTA will experiment with 24-hour subway service this summer

Starting in June, SEPTA plans to restore overnight subway service on the weekends, replacing the Night Owl buses with trains every 15 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights (or Saturday and Sunday mornings, really).

Pic of Broad Street subway from Plan Philly

Pic of Broad Street subway from Plan Philly

The Inquirer reports that the program is an experiment that the transit agency will run from mid-June till Labor Day. The key to keeping it is that people need to use it.

Says the paper:

Since 1991, subway service has been halted between midnight and 5 a.m., with Nite Owl buses substituted on those routes. Increasing nightlife and residential activity in Center City prompted SEPTA officials to bring back the subway service.

Back in February, when rumors of all-night service started floating around, we ran a poll asking whether you would use it. Out of more than 600 votes, 86 percent of readers said they would use it at least occasionally, and 30 percent said they’d use it “all the time.”

Unfortunately, the late-night service won’t coincide with the installation of the long-delayed smart-fare payment system that will replace tokens. The plan had been to get those stations rolled out in the middle of this year, but now they’re not scheduled to be fully implemented until early next year.

One day, you will be able to use your credit card to pay for SEPTA. They promise.


4 Responses to SEPTA will experiment with 24-hour subway service this summer

  1. ProvWitout April 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    This is excellent news!!!

    But SEPTA should not just scrap this idea at the end of the summer if they don’t think ridership supports the move. It takes more than just making service available for a few months in the summer to get something like this to catch on. And yes, it is a bummer that you can’t use debit or credit cards to quickly pay for a ride on the subway… That would help greatly to increase ridership.

  2. Dan April 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    I wish you could load on to a card like the metro in nyc but to be fair, the septa transpasses swipe much more reliably.

    With these new systems, I hope it’s like when something is so backwards, when it’s finally updated it’s top of the line (so it can last another 50 years).

  3. Brian M. April 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    I’d love to learn if Conrad’s petition and energy was a deciding factor for SEPTA’s experiment…

    • David April 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      From friends who work at Septa, as hard as this will be to believe, it was purely coincidental, and was something that the city had asked SEPTA to examine well before Conrad’s petition and marketing push.

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