The SEPTA board voted unanimously yesterday to end late-night service on its Market-Frankford and Broad Street rapid transit lines. The buses would run every 15 minutes during the nightly shutdown. Currently the trains run every 30 minutes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The new schedules will take effect in late spring or early summer. Louis Gambaccini, SEPTA's general manager, told the 60 people at the public meeting that the main reason for nightly shutdown is to improve service. He added that the move will save the authority an average of $1 million each year over the next 10 years. "Even if we didn't have financial stress, it would still be a prudent decision," Gambaccini said. "If ever in my lifetime I heard of a win-win situation, this is it." Gambaccini said SEPTA will improve security by closing train stations late at night and reassigning police officers that now monitor the affected lines to cover other areas of the system. However, speakers opposing the decision criticized SEPTA, saying that the authority made no attempt to poll its riders before voting on the change. Lance Haver, executive director of the Consumer Education and Protection Association, also noted that there is no guarantee that SEPTA will carry out its promises to improve service. Haver said to the board that SEPTA has yet to follow through on a promise to install token machines in every subway station. "Since the fare increase, this has not been the case," said Haver. "There is no guarantee now that SEPTA will live up to its words." SEPTA's treasurer said that the shutdown of the lines would allow workers to maintain the system and to clean the stations. In addition, SEPTA officials could monitor ridership on the new buses to prevent overcrowding. Students said yesterday that they were skeptical that the new system would improve safety. "I wouldn't want to be waiting on a street corner at that time of the morning waiting for a bus," said Ruthlyn Greenfield, a Nursing junior. "It's not realistic to think that they could man all the bus stops." Engineering junior Sherwin Gluck also said that crime would be worse at the bus stops. "[Riders] are going to have to wait outside and that's a lot less safe than waiting in a subway," he said. College junior Stepahanie Murray said that she would consider using the buses but added that she is doubtful of SEPTA's ability to fulfill its promises. "Their points sound valid, but I really don't have any confidence in the system," Murray said.Comments powered by Disqus
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