SEPTA’s 23/45 Split Off to Good Start

Word on the street from both riders and operators so far is that two routes are indeed better than one.

As the first week of operations on the now-separate Routes 23 and 45 draws to a close, is the splitting of the city’s longest and busiest surface transit route in two working according to plan?

“Yes” is the answer SEPTA officials give based on feedback from bus drivers and passengers.

“It’s still very early, but the transition has gone very well, probably better than we expected,” said Steve D’Antonio, manager of city service planning at SEPTA. “We’re told by operators and customers that the routes are operating on time better than they were before the split.”

The number of riders who actually transfer from one route to the other at the designated transfer point at 11th/12th and Market streets is just what SEPTA’s prior research predicted it would be: four per vehicle.

Riders who transfer have not had to wait long for the next southbound bus, and northbound buses wait for passengers at 11th and Market.

D’Antonio said that the main goal of the first week of operations was to get passengers used to the new setup and to work out any bugs in service. Customer service staff have been stationed at the Center City transfer stops to assist riders.

It seems there have been few of those bugs. In fact, D’Antonio said, “we’ve gotten one commendation already” from a rider “as well as requests to split other routes” — in particular Route 47, which also operates north-south on narrow streets on a long route through the city.

Whether that will happen depends on the outcome of SEPTA’s formal review of the new arrangements on the 23 and 45, which will begin in two weeks and extend through the early part of the year. If it’s positive—and thus far, it looks like it will be—the agency might well consider doing the same for the 47, which has similar but less severe problems than the 23 did.