The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) recently launched a new online tool to provide riders with information about on-board seating availability.
The Estimated Seat Availability Dashboard, designed to help riders with trip planning, currently features data for most of the agency’s bus routes. This data will expand in the coming months to information for all of SEPTA's modes of travel, such as the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines, the Norristown High Speed Line, regional rail, and trolleys.
Seating estimates are based on ridership information that SEPTA collects from a mix of sources, including Automatic Passenger Counting systems and assessments by SEPTA personnel and traffic checkers.
On the Estimated Seat Availability Dashboard, customers will see each stop on a trip displayed as one of three categories:
- Many Seats Available: Expect that you can easily find a seat.
- Some Seats Available: Expect that you may have to search for a seat.
- Standing Room Only: Expect that all seats are taken.
Even though SEPTA still has COVID-capacity limits in place on its vehicles, those are expected to be lifted soon due to increasing vaccination rates, lower case numbers, and higher demand for service. Information on the Estimated Seat Availability Dashboard will reflect the capacity limits while they are in place and will be adjusted as limits are increased and eventually lifted.
The information on the Estimated Seat Availability Dashboard is also available as an interactive tool for customers, and the data can be downloaded for use by app developers. SEPTA expects to incorporate the data into the Official SEPTA App later this year.