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SEPTA Partners with City & PennDOT to Install Red Bus Lanes on Market Street

March 20, 2023

SEPTA is partnering with the City of Philadelphia and PennDOT to install red paint on the Market Street bus-only lanes from 20th to 15th Streets (eastbound) and Juniper to 6th Streets (both directions) in Center City.

This initiative will add approximately 1.75 miles of red bus lanes to SEPTA’s network – nearly tripling its current mileage of red bus lanes.

The project will directly benefit more than 6,600 daily weekday riders who use SEPTA’s buses on this stretch of Market Street by discouraging drivers from using the bus lanes.

“We are grateful to partner with the City and PennDOT on this historic investment in SEPTA’s bus infrastructure,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “Reducing the number of cars driving and parking in the bus lanes should improve the reliability of our bus service.”

Market Street buses serve neighborhoods across Philadelphia and the region, so making buses more frequent and reliable on Market Street has benefits that ripple across the transit network. Getting cars out of the bus lanes also improves accessibility — having the bus lane clear means the bus can properly curb at stops along its route.

SEPTA, the City, and PennDOT will split the cost of materials, which is expected to be approximately $785,000.

The red bus lanes are scheduled to be installed on Market Street later this month.

“Bus-only lanes are proven to enhance bus service, prioritize transit, and reduce traffic congestion in city streets,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We’re grateful to partner with SEPTA and PennDOT in this infrastructure investment. Transit is an affordable and energy efficient method of transportation and ensuring all residents have access to reliable bus service is a top priority of our Administration.”

“We value this opportunity to partner with the City and SEPTA on this pilot program,” said PennDOT District 6 Executive Louis Belmonte. “We anticipate the red bus lane will help encourage the use of public transit, enhance safety, and make for an overall better experience for all road users.”

Last June, the bus lane on Chestnut Street between Broad and 2nd Streets was painted red and as a result, SEPTA reported a 5% reduction in trip times.

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the implementation of red or terra-cotta-colored pavement can reduce vehicle incursions in bus lanes by 30 to 50%.

Market Street will continue to be an important corridor with SEPTA’s Bus Revolution; a comprehensive redesign of the bus network. This project is an example of how SEPTA is dedicating funding to ensure that the bus network is easier to use, more convenient, and more reliable. Together with other SEPTA Forward initiatives, such as Trolley Modernization, Bus Revolution promotes and strengthens regional growth and connects people with opportunity.