SEPTA considers restoring late-night subway service

 Officials with SEPTA say they are exploring whether Philadelphia's increasingly robust night life could support extending service that now ends at midnight (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

Officials with SEPTA say they are exploring whether Philadelphia's increasingly robust night life could support extending service that now ends at midnight (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

SEPTA is considering resuming late-night service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway lines.

Officials with the transit agency says they are exploring whether Philadelphia’s increasingly robust night life could support extending service that now ends at midnight.

Philadelphia resident Conrad Benner has worked late, in retail and in restaurants, and the options available for him to get home have been to take a bus or a cab.

“I would much rather wait on a brightly lit subway platform with cameras around me and a SEPTA employee or two than wait on a corner,” he said.

This week, Benner’s online petition for 24/7 service on SEPTA’s subway lines got 1,500 signatures in just two days.

The cost of all the employees needed to keep a whole line running, together with low ridership, led SEPTA  to end overnight service in the 1990s.

The agency had already begun crunching the numbers to see what level of service would be financially feasible today, said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams.

“We’ll look at some numbers and then possibly do a pilot program in the summer, just for Friday and Saturday evening, and make an evaluation after that,” she said.

The estimated costs of extending service will be released with SEPTA’s budget proposal next month, Williams said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.