Hot off the heels of the increasingly successful campaign led by Streets Dept. Founder Conrad Benner to have SEPTA extend its nighttime subway service on the weekends, there's another one of those change.org petitions floating around the web that seeks to extend the frequency and hours SEPTA's Regional Rail service to Wilmington, Delaware. David Curtis, a student at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, started the online petition in the hopes will activate the younger generations of the Philadelphia Region who utilize the sparse service and spark a second significant change to SEPTA's service. While most saw the bridge issues on I-495 as a major obstacle (and they are), Curtis thinks they can also become a permanent advantage for the riders on the Wilmington/Newark line. As the petition states, "when the I-495 Bridge closed for repairs in early June, Delaware ridership on SEPTA quickly increased by as much as 33%." Clearly, the need exists. Great idea, but how much would it cost?
Curtis, who moved to Wilmington two year ago and regularly commutes to Philly for work and school, found that (after consulting with some transportation planners to make sure his numbers were 'at least in the ballpark') the cost of extending the service to Wilmington for hourly service from 6am to midnight, seven days a week is staggeringly low — like between $350k and $1m per year, low. Curtis believe that number is actually closer to the low end of that spectrum as well. It's only a 35 minutes ride to Wilmington and Delaware pays SEPTA $751,000 for the current service schedule.
Curtis, through the petition, is hoping to wrangle up that active young person/Millenial crowd that made waves throughout the duration of the SEPTA 24/7 campaign. "I thought that I knew enough active and engaged young people between Philadelphia and Wilmington to give it a shot," he said in an email. "so here we are."
· Connect all trains to Wilmington [Change.org]
· Overflow lot set up for SEPTA rail riders [Delaware Online]