Improvements funded at NJ Transit, SEPTA

Posted: July 24, 2012

NJ Transit will get $2.6 million to move ahead with plans for a "bus rapid-transit" route to link South Jersey and Philadelphia, and SEPTA will receive $5 million to upgrade its 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Obama administration transportation officials said Monday.

In addition, NJ Transit is getting $76 million to upgrade its statewide bus fleet and buy new buses that run on compressed natural gas.

The South Jersey rapid-bus system along Routes 55, 42, and Interstate 676 would allow rush-hour buses to travel on highway shoulder lanes and medians for part of the trip to Philadelphia and would provide 1,800 new parking spaces for commuters in Winslow and Deptford Townships.

The project is expected cost $46 million, and the $2.6 million announced Monday is the first payment of what local officials hope will be as much as $23 million in federal funding for the project.

The money will be used to buy new buses, modify traffic signals, and develop a fare-collection system to allow riders to buy tickets before boarding.

The rapid-bus system would allow buses to travel in dedicated lanes, with traffic-signal priority, to speed the commute to Philadelphia. Stops along the way would have train-style shelters with ticket machines and real-time information about bus arrivals.

The plan is for buses to travel a 23-mile main line to Philadelphia from Avandale in Winslow Township. A branch would take riders from Deptford along Route 55 to join the main line at its merger with Route 42.

The bus service could be in full operation by 2020, NJ Transit officials have said. Some parts of the project could be phased in earlier, with construction beginning in about two years.

An estimated 6,400 riders would use the rapid-bus route daily by 2035, according to NJ Transit projections. It would cost from $5 million to $10 million a year to operate, planners said.

The plan calls for 26 buses to run at 10- to 15-minute intervals during rush hours from Winslow to a location west of City Hall on Market Street in Philadelphia.

The plan would expand the existing Avandale park-and-ride lot on Route 536 and add new parking lots on College Drive in Winslow and Delsea Drive in Deptford.

SEPTA will receive $5 million to restore the 105-year-old 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby, with better lighting, waiting room facilities, and pedestrian access.

The terminal is the western end of the Market-Frankford Subway Elevated line, and it is also the terminus for the Norristown High Speed Line, and a stop for 15 bus routes.

The money was part of $787 million for 255 transit projects in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced Monday by transportation secretary Ray LaHood and federal transit administrator Peter Rogoff.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com

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