SEPTA considers late-night service on subway

CENTER CITY - February 23, 2014

"I think it's a great idea. It's more convenient for a lot of people who are spending time after hours. It's probably safer as well," said Stephon Proctor.

The large transportation agency is thinking about keeping the trains running until 3:00 a.m. on weekend nights for the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines.

SEPTA stopped the service in the early 90s citing cost and safety concerns.

However look around and it's obvious things have changed. There is a buzzing nightlife in Center City, SEPTA's active police force and its multimillion dollar surveillance system.

So, would riders actually stay out until 3:00 a.m. if SEPTA kept going?

"Yes because I would be safe to get home and wouldn't worry about anything happening to me on my way home," said Erica Thomas.

SEPTA already has after midnight service on regional rail lines into several communities like Manayunk.

There are also night owl buses which run past 12:00 a.m. and about 3,600 people ride them nightly.

Spokeswoman Jerri Williams says the agency will crunch the numbers and may start a pilot program in summer 2014 to see if it has the ridership.

"People are saying they want it. Do they really want it? Are they going to be there? We're going to find that out and if they are then we'll take a good look at that and see if we can bring some service back," said Jerri Williams, SEPTA.

Riders who have to work or like experiencing the city late night say they wouldn't mind more travel options.

"Sometimes taking the bus can just take a little longer but yea if the train was available until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., I think it would be really convenient and I think a lot of people would take it," said Danny Torrance.

Meanwhile SEPTA officials say they will know by mid-March if they will be implementing the summer pilot program.

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