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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) officials have decided to extend through Nov. 2 a pilot program that provides 24-hour weekend subway service on the Broad Street and Market Frankford lines.SEPTA launched the pilot on June 15 to to accommodate demand for subway service among late-night riders on Fridays and Saturdays. During the pilot, trains are replacing Nite Owl buses on weekends and holidays. Nite Owl buses continue to provide overnight service on weekdays.The pilot was initially slated to run through Labor Day weekend, with SEPTA evaluating factors such as ridership, security and overall performance. However, extending the program into the fall — when college students return to class and other riders resume normal routines — will provide SEPTA with a more complete picture in considering the long-term options for late-night weekend subway service, authority officials said in a press release.Broad Street and Market-Frankford line ridership has increased by 50 percent or more during these extended service hours on most weekends this summer, they said. SEPTA's deployment of police officers on the two lines has helped ensure security for riders.SEPTA officials hope to additional ridership and fare revenue increases to help offset the operating costs associated with the program. This will be a key factor in determining whether SEPTA will be able to provide late-night weekend subway service beyond Nov. 2, said General Manager Joseph Casey.
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