Improve Wilmington Train Service
SEPTA connects to Wilmington every two hours off-peak, and the last weekend train leaves when most people are just starting dinner. For roughly $2M annually, the State of Delaware can implement hourly off-peak service seven days per week.
What service will look like:
Weekdays: hourly off-peak service until about 12:30am
Saturdays: hourly service until about 11:00pm
Sundays: hourly service until about 9:00pm
What it will cost:
Roughly $2M annually to connect virtually all trains that currently stop at the PA/DE state line.
Trains only connect to Wilmington every two hours because Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) pays SEPTA for Delaware service and DTC doesn't currently have $2m to spare for a major upgrade. The other half of trains simply stop and sit at Marcus Hook, PA (the state border). The State of Delaware, via the Delaware Department of Transportation, must provide a $2M annual funding increase to DTC in order to improve train service to Wilmington.
Why Delawareans should care:
Improving SEPTA access will provide an economic boost for Delaware's largest city (pop. 72,000). Wilmington has burgeoning live/work districts in its picturesque downtown and riverfront areas that surround the train station. The riverfront area alone has 5,000 jobs and 1,200 residents. The areas that surround the train station are adding hundreds of residential units and are ideally suited for still more growth.
Local leaders in Wilmington aim to attract 5,000 new residents in 5 years and are primarily focused on young professionals. Frequent connections to Philadelphia provide an enormous amenity for this demographic.
Why Philadelphians should care:
Wilmington has 52,000 jobs squeezed into 11 square miles. Many of these jobs are career-track positions at multi-national corporations, and virtually all are within walking distance to the train station. Philadelphians need better access to good jobs, and these jobs happen to be right in Philadelphia's back yard.
Also, Wilmington is gorgeous. Philadelphians, do yourselves a favor and visit more often. Just don't be surprised when you return to Philly with a heavy dose of riverfront envy.
Why car-commuters should care:
Even if you don't start commuting by train, others will. That means fewer cars for you to sit behind in traffic. Sound good?
Why transit riders should care:
This service expansion gives riders more freedom in their daily schedules.
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DelDOT will save more in annual road and highway maintenance expenses than the $2M that this service upgrade will cost.
The upgrade will also increase state and local revenues by attracting more employers and job-seekers to the city, accelerating residential development, boosting regional tourism, and creating new jobs.
Wilmington’s growth will always be limited if its transportation options are also limited. Delaware can’t afford for that to happen.
Thank you for listening to my concerns regarding SEPTA train service in Wilmington.