City unveils new plan to connect Philly through mass transit

A SEPTA bus in Center City.
A SEPTA bus in Center City. Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia officials unveiled a plan on Monday to connect all parts of the city with a unified public transportation system. The plan is supposed to chart the course for the next 25 years, but some steps are already in motion.

Imagine a city where buses speed along in a dedicated lane; where regional rail operates like other rapid transit — with frequent service, even on weekends; and where trolleys are sleek, modern vehicles with safe, accessible stations. That’s the vision outlined in the new Philadelphia Transit Plan.

Mayor Jim Kenney says it seeks to achieve equity, affordability and accessibility.

“This is a bold transformational road map that provides long-term solutions while addressing immediate and relevant needs through policy and infrastructure recommendations we can start to put in place now,” Kenney said.

The plan calls better bus service “the cheapest, fastest, most equitable way to improve transit.”

SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards says a Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign is already in the works.

“We’ll deliver more efficient service and improve reliability,” she said.

The officials say funding will determine how fast the plan can be implemented. For example, the plan identifies 20 bus corridors where improvements would benefit riders most but says there may be funding for just five over the next six years. And in the best case, perhaps 12.

Deputy Managing Director Mike Carroll says uncertain funding makes the plan more important.

“This document ensures that we can sustain that effort for this administration and for administrations to come,” Carroll said.