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The red bus lane on Chestnut Street. Photo credit: City of Philadelphia
The red bus lane on Chestnut Street. Photo credit: City of Philadelphia

SEPTA, the city, and PennDOT partner to install more red bus lanes to enhance bus service

The initiative will triple the red bus lanes current mileage.

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SEPTA will be partnering with the City of Philadelphia and PennDot to paint Market Street bus-only lanes red. These lanes are from 20th to 15th Streets (eastbound) and from Juniper to 6th Street (both directions). 

The initiative will triple the amount of red bus lanes by adding about 1.75 miles to SEPTA’s network. 

Over 6,600 daily weekday bus riders will benefit from the paint job, which will discourage drivers from using the bus lane, as well as allowing buses to be more frequent and reliable. 

“We are grateful to partner with the City and PennDOT on this historic investment in SEPTA’s bus infrastructure. Reducing the number of cars driving and parking in the bus lanes should improve the reliability of our bus service,” said Leslie S. Richards, General Manager and CEO of SEPTA. 

In a press release, SEPTA notes that since Market Street buses serve neighborhoods in both Philadelphia and across the region, the entire network will see benefits. The release also notes that not having cars in the bus lane will improve accessibility by allowing buses to properly curb at stops.  

“Bus-only lanes are proven to enhance bus service, prioritize transit, and reduce traffic congestion in city streets. We’re grateful to partner with SEPTA and PennDOT in this infrastructure investment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

“Transit is an affordable and energy efficient method of transportation and ensuring all residents have access to reliable bus service is a top priority of our Administration,” he added.

The three organizations will split the $785,000 cost of materials and the lanes will be installed later this month. 

“We value this opportunity to partner with the City and SEPTA on this pilot program,” said Louis Belmonte, PennDOT District 6 Executive.

He continued, “We anticipate the red bus lane will help encourage the use of public transit, enhance safety, and make for an overall better experience for all road users.” 

The bus lane on Chestnut Street between Broad and 2nd was painted red last June. SEPTA reported a 5% reduction in trip times after the new lane was installed. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has found that red or terra-cotta pavement can reduce the times cars go into the bus lanes by 30%-50%. 

The red bus lanes are one part of SEPTA’s Bus Revolution, which is a “comprehensive redesign of the bus network” and a SEPTA Forward initiative. SEPTA Forward is a strategic plan with the goal of moving “the Southeastern Pennsylvania region forward by providing safe, reliable, and accessible mobility choices for everyone.”

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