Intercity bus service is returning to Philadelphia, with Megabus announcing a limited schedule that starts with a few options and expands with additional destinations throughout the month of June.
Although there’s road construction behind 30th Street Station where the bus usually stops for passengers, transportation officials tell Billy Penn it shouldn’t affect pickups.
For the first time since Megabus suspended service at the beginning of April, Philly customers can make reservations online.
Tickets to Baltimore and Washington D.C. can be purchased for travel as soon as today, although there are only two daily time slots to choose from. Tickets to New York City are available for multiple trips starting June 1, and for other destinations (Harrisburg, Charlotte, N.C.) starting a month later, on July 1.
What’s the new normal for long bus trips?
“The safety of our passengers and employees is our top priority,” Sean Hughes, Megabus director of corporate affairs, said in an email confirming the new schedule.
That means ramped up cleaning procedures, with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer placed on every vehicle so rails can be wiped down often — and also changes to personal behavior, which is thought to cause much more viral spread than touching contaminated surfaces.
Some seating on the double-decker buses will be blocked off to allow for more space between passengers, per the company website.
Passengers won’t be forced to wear a face covering while riding, but “we encourage everyone to wear a mask throughout the duration of the trip.” Mask are mandatory, however “wherever social distancing is not possible.” Per the Megabus site, that includes when waiting in line, when moving around the bus interior and when boarding or getting off.
In addition to a secondary stop at 6th and Market streets, the main boarding area in Philly is on JFK Boulevard behind 30th Street Station.
According to PennDOT, that stretch of road is supposed to be closed to traffic through the end of August — but it appears to be currently open.
A spokesperson referred Billy Penn to SEPTA when asked about the construction, since the project is a bridge rehabilitation being overseen by the regional transportation authority.
“The road closure on JFK Blvd is still in effect and is expected to be through August,” said SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch, despite photos that show the roadway open to regular traffic.
If the roadway does actually close, it somehow won’t affect the bus pickups there, which also include city transit and Bolt Bus: “My understanding is that it will not impact this Megabus stop at 30th Street,” Busch said.
Megabus also has the same understanding. Per corporate director Hughes, the limited Philly service will include both stops in the city: “30th Street and 6th & Market.”