Sign this well researched and practical petition to call for SEPTA to increase service to Wilmington

Filed in National by on July 24, 2014

Thank you to tipster Alex Zorach who sent in this link a petition, organized by David Curtis, to improve SEPTA train service to Delaware:

As Alex mentioned, the petition seems well-researched, and the costs modest relative to the benefits. Apparently there is also a recent precedent of SEPTA adding significant service improvements in response to similar citizen petitions.

Help give this petition a boost (and ask the next politician who asks for your money or vote about it).

SEPTA connects to Wilmington every two hours off-peak, and the last weekend train leaves when most people are still waiting to order appetizers. When the I-495 Bridge closed for repairs in early June, Delaware ridership on SEPTA quickly increased by as much as 33%. If similar events in other cities are any indication, many new riders will simply continue using SEPTA after the bridge reopens, especially if service improves. Swift action can turn this bridge situation into a permanent advantage for Wilmington.

Why Delawareans should care:

Wilmington has burgeoning live/work districts in its picturesque downtown and riverfront areas that surround the train station (which also serves Amtrak). The riverfront area alone has 5,000 jobs and 1,200 residents. 120 additional residential units will open on the riverfront within 5 months and 600 more units will open downtown within 12 months. The areas that surround the train station are ideally suited for still more economic development. Improving SEPTA access will be a shot in the arm for Delaware’s largest city (pop. 72,000).

Local leaders in Wilmington aim to attract 5,000 new residents in 5 years and are primarily focused on young professionals. Frequent connection to Philadelphia is an enormous amenity for this demographic, both for work and fun. In fact, many people advocated for this very idea at the event linked to above.

Why Philadelphians should care:

Wilmington has 52,000 jobs squeezed into 11 square miles. Many of these jobs are career-track positions at multi-national corporations, and virtually all are within walking distance to the train station. Philadelphians need better access to good jobs, and these jobs happen to be right in Philadelphia’s back yard.

Also, Wilmington is gorgeous. Philadelphians, do yourselves a favor and visit more often. Just don’t be surprised when you return to Philly with a heavy dose of riverfront envy.

Why car-commuters should care:

Increasing frequencies make it more appealing to commute by rail. Even if you don’t make the switch, others will. That means fewer cars for you to sit behind during rush-hour traffic.

Why transit riders should care:

Duh. Unless, of course, you enjoy waiting 2 hours for your next train.

What it will cost annually:

$350k – $1m, and probably much closer to $350k.

Trains only connect to Wilmington every two hours because Delaware Transit Corporation (DART) pays SEPTA just $751,300 annually (yes, that’s all) to operate about half of the trains on the line in Delaware. The other half of trains simply stop and sit at Marcus Hook, PA, because DART does not currently pay enough to SEPTA to extend these trains into Delaware. SEPTA has confirmed this.

What service will look like:

Weekdays: service from about 5:30am – 12:30am

Weekends: service from about 6:30am – 11:00pm

About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (6)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    GO ahead…sign the petition.

  2. Andy says:

    God forbid. The highway lobby will never allow it. In their opinion transit steals enough of their money from the transportation trust fund

  3. ben says:

    Yeah, this sounds reasonable, practical, and beneficial to many Delawareans and the economy. Just the sort of thing that wont be allowed to happen because it wont benefit the RIGHT people.

  4. cassandra_m says:

    Some of my neighbors commute to Philly via the train and Wilmington is missing a thing by not trying to entice Philadelphians to move here. Property is cheap and the commute would be LOT easier if SEPTA ran more frequently.

  5. pandora says:

    I signed!

    Just got off the train yesterday – college interviews in Bean Town for our youngest. I get transportation envy every time I’m in Boston. It’s number one on our list of retirement locations and their public transportation system is one of the main reasons.

    I love the train (it’s hassle free!) and we use SEPTA regularly. Extended hours would be wonderful!