By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If folks are complaining about getting around on SEPTA during the Papal visit later this month, the transit agency is hearing you. SEPTA is tinkering with its runs, and subways will operate straight through Center City, rather than making U-turns on the fringes of where the Pope is appearing.
SEPTA says it has doubled the number of stations scheduled to be open during the Papal visit along the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines, including 8th Street and 34th Street on the Market-Frankford Line, which officials say will provide close access to the Francis Festival grounds.
Officials say trains on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines will operate in both directions the weekend of Sept. 26-27 from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day.
Essentially, trains will run all the way through town, rather that stopping and turning around at 30th Street or 2nd on the Market-Frankford Line and Spring Garden or Walnut-Locust on the Broad Street Line.
SEPTA says the following is an updated summary of their service plan:
• Market-Frankford Line Eastbound Express Service: Will run from 69th Street Transportation Center directly to 30th Street Station. These same trains will then continue with Local service, stopping at 8th Street Station, 2nd Street Station; Girard Station; Huntingdon Station; Allegheny Station; Erie-Torresdale Station; Arrott Transportation Center; and Frankford Transportation Center.
• Market-Frankford Line Eastbound Local Service: Trains will originate at 60th Street Station, with stops at 52nd Street Station; 34th Street Station; 30th Street; 8th Street; 2nd Street; Girard; Huntingdon; Allegheny; Erie-Torresdale; Arrott Transportation Center; and Frankford Transportation Center.
• Market-Frankford Line Westbound Express Service: Trips will operate from Frankford Transportation Center directly to 2nd Street, then continue with Local service to 8th Street; 30th Street; 34th Street; 52nd Street; 60th Street; and 69th Street Transportation Center.
• Market-Frankford Line Westbound Local Service: Trips will originate at Arrott Transportation Center, with stops at Erie-Torresdale; Allegheny; Huntingdon; Girard; 2nd Street; 8th Street; 30th Street; 34th Street; 52nd Street; 60th Street; and 69th Street Transportation Center.
• Broad Street Line Northbound Express Service: Trains will run from AT&T Station directly to Walnut-Locust Station. These trains will continue with Local service to Spring Garden Station; Cecil B. Moore Station; North Philadelphia Station; Erie Station; Olney Transportation Center; and Fern Rock Transportation Center.
• Broad Street Line Northbound Local Service: Trains will operate from Snyder Station to Walnut-Locust; Spring Garden; Cecil B. Moore; North Philadelphia; Erie; Olney Transportation Center; and Fern Rock Transportation Center.
• Broad Street Line Southbound Express Service: Trains will run from Fern Rock Transportation Center directly to Spring Garden; these trains will continue with Local service to Walnut-Locust; Snyder; and AT&T Station.
• Broad Street Line Southbound Local Service: Trains will originate at Olney Transportation Center, with stops at Erie; North Philadelphia; Cecil B. Moore; Spring Garden; Walnut-Locust; Snyder; and AT&T Station.
SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams says the adjustments are in response to requests from riders and businesses for weekend commuting needs, and more options for those going to see the Pope.
"We still will be having express service from our transportation centers right into Center City, or you can get on a local train and be able to make some local stops."
All told, SEPTA is adding seven stops on the Market-Frankford and four stops on the Broad Street Lines.
City Hall Station and the 15th Street stops remain no-go areas. "Those stations are still within the secure area. Again, the secret service has asked us not to allow unscreened riders to exit there.'
Officials say customers using the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines can ride using their existing fare instruments, such as weekly and monthly passes and tokens.
SEPTA is offering existing customers a credit towards a future pass for those who have purchased September monthly passes and those who will purchase weekly passes that include the Papal visit weekend.
Officials say the credits available are: "Those who have purchased monthly TrailPasses or TransPasses for September will be eligible to get a $5 one-time credit on the purchase of an October, November or December monthly pass. And weekly TransPass customers who purchased the September 21 weekly pass will be eligible to receive a $2 credit. Those with September 21 weekly TrailPasses from all zones can receive a $10 credit. These one-time credits for weekly passes can be applied to a week of the customer's choosing through the end of December."
SEPTA says Papal visit bus detours will begin on Wednesday, September 23, and stations closures starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, September 24, and continuing on Friday, September 25.
For the latest SEPTA updates regarding the Papal visit, go to: septa.org/papalvisitphilly.
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