Septa Shows off Proposed Bus Route Changes at Epstein Campus


Septa’s map of the changed bus routes

Christian L. Grosso

BRISTOL- On Thursday Nov. 10th, The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, more commonly known as SEPTA, held an open house at Bucks’s Gene & Marleen Epstein Campus to present a proposed revamp of the systems bus network.

The event featured representatives from SEPTA as well as posters with information about the proposal. Snacks and SEPTA stickers were also on hand.

The plan, being dubbed the “SEPTA Bus Revolution”, reflects the first significant change to the bus network in the Philadelphia area since SEPTA took over local bus systems from private operators almost 50 years ago.

“SEPTA’s Bus Revolution will take a detailed look at how travel patterns are changing, both in response to development in the region and in response to travel changes resulting from COVID. The project will also evaluate ridership throughout SEPTA’s entire bus network to determine where transit use is highest and where increased service may be needed.”

A key component to the Bus Revolution is public input, which SEPTA has been gathering by surveying riders and listening to feedback on what parts of the system need improvement, and what they would like to see in a redesigned bus system.

SEPTA released their proposed routes on Oct. 3, and since then has been holding open houses across the Delaware Valley to present the map and get feedback from the public, including the one held at the Epstein campus.

The map was color coded to show the frequency the routes will operate. For example, a 30MAX bus would operate every half hour, while a 60MAX bus would operate every hour. SEPTA officials noted that although routes will be renumbered, the ones used in the current proposal may end up being changed in a finalized map.

In the draft map shown at the open house, multiple changes are noticeable to routes serving Bucks County.

Currently, the Newtown Campus is served by Route 130 bus, which begins at the campus, travels through Newtown, Langhorne, Penndel, Hulmeville and Bensalem, before terminating at the City Line Loop in Philadelphia’s Torresdale neighborhood.

This route, renumbered to Route 601, would largely remain the same, with the exception that its southern terminus would be cut back to Neshaminy Mall. Also, the alternative loop that goes around Newtown Industrial Park during rush hours would be discontinued. This route would operate every hour, which is the same as it is currently.

Proposed Route 602 would travel between Trenton Transit Center and Neshaminy Mall. This would be a combination of most of existing Route 127, and the portion of existing Route 14 between Neshaminy and Oxford Valley Malls. This route would run every half hour, which would be an increase for much of the existing route.

In Central Bucks County, existing Route 55, which has two service patterns that serve Doylestown or Warminster to Olney Transportation Center, would be split into two routes to prevent the existing confusion brought on by service patterns. Proposed Route 699 would serve the existing Doylestown pattern, while Route 799 would serve the Warminster Pattern. Both routes would operate every hour.

The current Route 128 and Route 129 buses make stops at the Epstein Campus every hour. Both routes start at Oxford Valley Mall and travel a similar route through Levittown and Bristol, and down Veterans Highway to the Epstein Campus. Afterwards, the 128 bus goes through Croydon and Parx Casino before terminating at Neshaminy Mall. The 129 bus on the other hand, goes through Newportville and Cornwells Heights, then terminates at the City Line Loop.

Parts of Route 129 would operate under the new name Route 604. Its northern end would be truncated to Bristol Station, but would increase frequency to every half hour.

Proposed Route 542 would be a combination of portions of Routes 128, 129 and 130 that go through Bensalem. It would operate every half hour between Neshaminy Mall and Torresdale Station.

But in the proposed map, Route 128 service to the Epstein campus, as well as all bus service to much of Levittown, would be discontinued. Instead, SEPTA wants to establish “micro transit zones” in parts of Bucks County that would lose bus service.

SEPTA’s website defines microtransit as a “flexible, on-demand transit service. It allows riders to request a trip when they want to travel and be picked up within a specified wait time.”

The service would be similar to ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. You would schedule a ride from an app, and you would ride in a van, usually by yourself.

It would only cost $2, which is the cost of a bus ride. Other key differences are that riders must schedule thirty minutes in advance, and you will be picked up at the nearest intersection, not directly at your location.

Users will only be able to travel within a designated microtransit zone. In Bucks County, three zones would be established, one around Levittown, one in the southern end of Bensalem, and one extending from Telford into northwest Montgomery County.

At the open house, SEPTA representatives noted that the microtransit zone may be extended into Penndel so Epstein campus students could transfer to the bus to Newtown.

SEPTA isn’t the first to consider micro transit. Wilson, NC, a town outside of Raleigh, recently switched all bus routes to micro transit, according to WFAE-FM, an NPR station.

The service has been a huge hit with residents. Deanne Braswell, a resident of Wilson, NC, told WFAE that micro transit has been “a blessing, really.” “It’s my way of getting to work. It’s my way of, you know, paying my bills.”

SEPTA’s Bus revolution website noted that with these plans, there will be tradeoffs, meaning some areas will lose bus service entirely for the benefit of increasing service and reliability on other bus routes.

The Route 58 bus, which travels through Feasterville on its route from Neshaminy Mall to Frankford Transportation Center, would have its northern terminus cut back to Somerton Station in far Northeast Philadelphia. This would cause Feasterville to lose all bus service, as micro transit is currently not being proposed for this region.

According to a timeline on the SEPTA Bus Revolution website, planners will release their final proposal in the spring of next year. A SEPTA representative told the Philadelphia Inquirer that new routes could be rolled out between fall of next year through 2024.

Even though the open house has passed, SEPTA would still like to hear your feedback on the proposed map. You can do so by visiting, and clicking “share your feedback”. On this website you can also find more information about the proposed routes, and micro transit.