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SEPTA to replace weekend late-night buses with trains

Starting June 15, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will launch a pilot project to offer weekend overnight subway service on the Broad Street and Market Frankford lines to accommodate demand for late-night subway service on weekends.

Trains will replace the agency's "Nite Owl" buses on weekends and holidays, including July Fourth and Labor Day. Buses will continue to operate Nite Owl service on weekdays. The service pilot will be in effect through Labor Day, SEPTA officials said in a press release.

SEPTA replaced overnight train service with buses in 1991 due to low ridership, and to allow a regular window for safety and maintenance tasks to be performed.

"Philadelphia has changed since that time," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. "Now, with all of the restaurants, increased late-night activity, and people moving back into the city, we're excited to be able to provide this service that city, business leaders, and customers have been asking us for."

Nearly 10,000 riders use the Nite Owl bus service on weekends. SEPTA's staff will evaluate ridership, staffing costs, overall security and other factors to determine whether 24-hour weekend subway service will continue beyond the pilot program, agency officials said.

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