SEPTA’s Reopening Plan


SEPTA is responsible for over half a million people getting to their destinations, but that was before the pandemic. Since the spring, the mass transit service has reduced rider capacity by 50-percent.

The capacity limits on their services are as follows:

Buses: 20 passengers

Trolleys: 25 passengers

Norristown High-Speed Line: 30 passengers

SEPTA’s General Manager Leslie Richards said while SEPTA has not formally removed the limits, she realizes the mass transit service will not be able to continue enforcing them.

“As more people open up, our vehicles are going to become more crowded. And while we reduced ourselves to 50-percent capacity, we won’t be able to maintain that. Right now we are running the fullest system we can with every vehicle that is available,” Richards said.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, SEPTA introduced a reopening guide encouraging social distancing, making masks and face coverings a requirement for employees and riders, and increasing sanitization of vehicles and facilities.

“I can tell you that our system is extremely clean, and multiple times a day we’re doing deep cleans. We’re closing down certain areas at night,” SEPTA’s General Manager Leslie Richards reassured the Temple community.

Junior public relations major Bob Hartnett will commute to campus twice a week for the fall semester by regional rail. He said, although he appreciates SEPTA’s mitigation measures, he will decide on a week-by-week basis whether he will take the train or drive.

“I think right now I’m leaning towards taking the train, but like I said: case by case basis. That can change week to week,” Hartnett said.

Rider mask compliance has students like sophomore psychology and classics major Tori Ruth concerned. She has been riding the Broad Street and Market-Frankford subways throughout the pandemic and said some people aren’t wearing facial coverings.

“I just wish there was a way they could enforce the mask thing better like [where] you can’t really get past the turn styles without a mask,” Ruth said.

SEPTA has it’s own plan to enforce its mask policy with a newly developed social distancing coaching program. According to Richards, staff members will be at various SEPTA locations reminding people to wear a mask and even handing face coverings to people in need.

“Now that more people are out and about cautiously […] it is essential that everyone wear a face covering, and it can be anything. It can be a mask. It can be a t-shirt wrapped around their nose and their mouth. It is important their nose and their mouth are covered,” Richards added.

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