As Uber Grows, SEPTA to Rethink Bus Service

SEPTA’s 123 bus and trolley routes lost about 4.4 million ride trips from fiscal years 2014 to 2016, the agency reported, which mirrors shrinking bus ridership nationwide, according to the American Public Transportation Association. The region’s bus ridership by linked trips in fiscal year 2016 was 114 million, the lowest it had been since 2003. Compared with 2013, the last full year SEPTA operated without ride sharing in the city, the 2016 ridership loss is even more significant. Last year’s more than 161 million ride trips on both buses and trolleys was about 14 million shy of the ridership three years earlier.

“The combination of gas prices and Uber and Lyft give us so much external explanation for what we’re seeing,” Jarrett Walker, a Portland, Ore.-based transit expert who contributed to a redesign of Houston’s bus service, said in a recent interview.