It’s no surprise that SEPTA, like all forms of public transportation across the world, has been hurt by the COVID pandemic. And, being the adaptive and progressive transportation authority that it is, SEPTA has rolled with the punches.

Most recently, it was announced via an Inquirer article that they’ve expanded bike access on the Broad Street Subway, Frankford-Market El, Regional Rail, and Norristown High-Speed Line.

Previously allowed only during non-peak hours, cyclists can now bring bicycles on Regional Rail, as well as the Market-Frankford, Broad Street, and Norristown High Speed Lines at all times. Better signage to navigate through SEPTA is in the works, as is a website overhaul and a way to share real-time crowding information with riders. Aside from the changes for bike riders now in effect, a specific timeline on other enhancements isn’t clear, Busch said.

“We thought it was important to have a document that summarizes some of the big things that have happened to date with COVID-19,” Busch said. “And also recognize the fact that we still have to deal with them moving forward.”

This is all part of the Authority’s COVID-19 recovery plan. It is also good — and something we’d been advocating for. It took the coronavirus to make it happen, but, nevertheless, we’ll take it! We appreciate SEPTA’s willingness to adapt and accommodate more folks utilizing multimodal.

If you’re continuing to bike, ride SEPTA or (now) a combination, make sure to mask up and keep a safe distance from others. SEPTA buses and trains are generally well-ventilated and, according to a Billy Penn story from August, considered less risky than other indoor spaces.

Philly’s transit authority is stocked with vehicles that are capable of ventilating frequently. New air refreshes cars on both the Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line every 2 to 3 minutes — and there are similar rates across the system: on buses, Regional Rail and trolley cars.

Indoor spaces with good ventilation are considered less risky than those without, scientists say, because airflow can dilute the presence of viral particles in your immediate space.

In general, public transit has proven itself low-risk for transmission in cities all over the world. With solid ventilation, there’s reason to feel comfortable riding SEPTA, health officials say, so long as you’re also wearing a mask and keeping your distance.

Thanks again to SEPTA for giving more folks from communities all over the city better access to their trains. This is welcome news.

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