SEPTA reduces service to 'lifeline' schedule in response to COVID-19 crisis

Tim Jimenez
April 08, 2020 - 7:11 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There are big changes ahead for SEPTA as the transit agency limits its service even more because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting Thursday, SEPTA put a "lifeline service schedule" into effect. The transit agency says the changes will help protect SEPTA employees and passengers who need to make essential trips.

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SEPTA is asking that all public transit passengers wear a mask or face covering.

SEPTA is also closing 10 Market-Frankford Line stations and eight Broad Street Line stops; suspending six Regional Rail Lines (Chestnut Hill East and West, Cynwyd, Manayunk/Norristown, West Trenton and Wilmington/Newark); and limiting bus and trolley service to 60 core routes. The full details are on septa.org.

The stations and lines that remain open will give people access to hospitals, grocery stores and other life-sustaining places. According to the statement, "SEPTA police will engage customers to ensure that they are traveling for essential purposes."

The changes come after SEPTA reported the deaths of three employees from the coronavirus. While it's not clear how the workers got sick, Willie Brown, the president of the local Transport Workers Union, says they are very concerned because 48 employees have told the union they tested positive.

The transit agency says it has given masks and gloves to its workers. Last week, in an effort to promote social distancing, SEPTA instituted rear boarding on buses and trolleys and started to limit the number of passengers allowed on buses, trolleys and Norristown High Speed Line trains.