Full return still up in the air for SEPTA Regional Rail lines

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While city transit service is back to pre-pandemic levels, SEPTA has only partly restored Regional Rail service. It may be a while before those lines are back on their original schedules.

In the past week, SEPTA brought back at least hourly service to all but the Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd regional rail lines. 

While buses, subways and trolleys are fully restored, SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards said many commuters who would normally ride the rails to Center City are still working remotely. The agency continues to monitor the demand for regional rail service.

"There's still a lot of unknowns," she said. "Whether they'll be expected to come in five days a week or maybe a few days a week. And so the way that they use our system will be quite different than before the pandemic."

According to Richards, some employers told SEPTA they won't be fully reopened until the fall or later, so the demand for service isn't back to normal. If there's a second wave of the virus, service may be reduced again.

"This virus will be around for quite some time and may, as we move forward, also require us to take some steps back," she admitted.