It's now official: the subways will be open for 24-hours over the summer weekends.
SEPTA announced today that its planned 24-7 summer subway service pilot program will begin the weekend after June 15th and conclude after the Labor Day Weekend and “Made in America” festivities.
The Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line will remain operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning. Trains will run every 20 minutes between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
The change will also effect cashiers. At high-trafficked stops, the cashiers will take fares at the turnstiles. But at the less-traveled stops passengers will pay the train operator located in the train's first car.The train operators will accept tokens, cash fares, passes and will sell transfers, but not hand out change.
SEPTA officials has also pledged increased police presence on all of the overnight trains.
The 24-7 service is not a new concept. Throughout the 1980s the trains ran 24-7, but were replaced with the overnight bus service in 1991 due to low ridership.
SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey acknowledged that Philadelphia's demographics and populations have shifted in the last 20 years.
“Now with all of the restaurants, increased late-night activity, and people moving back into the city, we’re excited to be able to provide this service that city, business leaders, and customers have been asking us for,” he said.
SEPTA officials have set aside between $100,000 and $200,000 in the operating budget to start the pilot program. At the conclusion of the pilot program, officials will evaluate ridership and other factors to decided whether the 24-7 weekend subway service should be permanent.
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