Most SEPTA routes returning to normal schedule, but with restrictions

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Some SEPTA schedules will seem nearly back to normal for riders on Sunday. Most bus and trolley routes, along with the Norristown High Speed Line have resumed their usual schedules. Regional Rail lines are still following limited-service schedules.

New barrier shields and marked-off seats are just some of the changes SEPTA riders should expect to see.

Many passengers waiting to ride the bus at Olney's Transportation Center said they were thankful the schedule is going back to normal on their routes.

"I think it will be better for us who have to get to work, I work at a nursing home," said Regina Tolliver, who said she relies on the bus to get her to and from work.

SEPTA officials said they are shifting some routes back to a normal schedule to help during the pandemic.

"SEPTA is working very hard to meet the challenges of our region during this unprecedented crisis," said SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards.

Additional changes are coming to SEPTA on Monday.

"We are moving to a spring schedule starting Monday, May 18," Richards said. "We are still discouraging at this time, non-essential travel and we see this as an opportunity to reduce crowding and to practice social distancing on all of our vehicles."

Passengers will now be able to start entering through front-doors and should expect to pay a fare while boarding on Monday.

"We're instituting the fare collection to limit the number of non-essential riders. Requiring fare payment will decrease the number of people taking shelter on our system," Richards said.

Only 20 passengers will be allowed per bus and 25 passengers per trolley.

The Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line subway stations that are now closed, will remain closed.

The Regional Rail schedules are not going back to full operation on Monday.

Many riders said it was tough finding alternate ways to commute while the busses were running on a limited schedule.

"I actually work overnights, so taking the bus when the bus was shut down at night was real hard," said Haron, who lives in Olney.

Times have been hard for SEPTA, too, with fewer people using public transit. SEPTA announced an estimated $150 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year. To ease the big losses, SEPTA's general manager plans to take a 10% pay cut while the company eliminates overtime, and implements a hiring freeze.

"Thank god that it's working again, cause we all need to pay our bills," said Ebony Day, who is thankful she can return to taking public transit on a normal schedule again.

"We are doing the best that we possibly can right now and we know that our service will be far from perfect in the weeks and possibly the months ahead," Richards said.

SEPTA officials said it's best to keep a close watch on your particular route schedule for possible changes along the way.
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