SEPTA to keep weekend service on Market, Broad Street subway lines

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 Train operator Maurice Bey collects fares at the front of the train for Nite Owl service (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Train operator Maurice Bey collects fares at the front of the train for Nite Owl service (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Late night weekend service on SEPTA’s subway lines has been so popular that it’s getting an indefinite extension.

SEPTA started running weekend overnight service on the Broad Street and Market Frankford lines in June. Spokesman Manny Smith says it’s been a hit.

“Before we started the pilot back in June we had an average of only 9,000 people using the bus only service that rose to 15,000 people on the Broad Street and Market Frankford line when the train service was added,” Smith said.

Most of the riders on weekend nights are using transpasses that they would have purchased anyway, so Smith says SEPTA is not getting a lot of extra revenue from it. He’s hoping more cash fare riders will use the trains.

“What we’d like to be able to see going forward are more riders who are new to the system and we’d be able to know that because they will be paying with tokens or cash fares.”

SEPTA says the additional service costs about $1.7 million a year extra. It’s exploring finding a sponsor to underwrite it in exchange for advertising opportunities.

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