Press Release: Bus Revolution Delay

5th Square is providing the following press release in reaction to the recent Delay in Implementing Bus Revolution

February 13, 2024
For Immediate Release


5th Square Chair Steph Davis said, “SEPTA is in a moment of crisis. The bus system is not working even for our deeply-rooted communities. The insidious failures of the current system outweigh any potential shortcomings of an intentional bus network redesign with the Bus Revolution. Council can address underfunding, but without the Bus Revolution we cannot respond to the operator shortage while adapting to the changing needs of riders. 

“The system as it stands does not respond to current community members, and is more often based on the demands of wealthy landowners who dictated these routes one hundred years ago. We cannot doom ourselves to the same fate by allowing residents with the ear of council to dictate how service runs for the thousands it serves. 

“Since it is cost-neutral the redesign cannot add service without taking it away somewhere else. Council can act by prioritizing funding for SEPTA at a city level–something that would help us bring in federal and state dollars through matching programs–instead they are standing by the status quo. We can do better.”

5th Square Transit Committee Chair Michael Noda says, “Buses are a vital lifeline for getting folks around Philly, with many neighborhoods completely reliant on this service being fast, frequent, and reliable. Currently, our buses are increasingly unreliable, among the slowest in the country, and leaves riders stranded across our region daily.

“Bus riders see this, and have been voting with their feet. Ridership has been declining for over a decade – down almost 40% – and the pandemic has permanently changed how people work and travel.

“SEPTA is at the precipice of a ridership death spiral, where poor service discourages ridership, which reduces revenue and causes even further service cuts. 

“SEPTA is facing an existential threat where the status quo is not sustainable. This is why we support SEPTA’s Bus Revolution.

“This redesign will create nearly a dozen more high-frequency routes, increasing service reliability and speeds – resulting in over a million more people gaining access to frequent bus routes.

“The proposal would also improve service at non-peak times and weekends, which has the greatest benefit for low-income households and those with no car access.

“SEPTA has already conducted extensive engagement on Bus Revolution over three years, over 200 meetings, and collecting over 20,000 comments

“More delay will not produce a better outcome -- This process has already been delayed over a year for more feedback and to adjust routes.  No bus network is ever a finished product; SEPTA will resume annual adjustments to its routes, after Bus Revolution’s implementation is complete.”

“Beyond supporting the Bus Revolution, our State and Local legislators play an enormous role in making our buses work better.  We additionally call on them to properly fund SEPTA’s operating budget, provide more bus shelters and bus-only lanes, and expand automated bus camera enforcement city-wide.