New Amtrak Bus Service — A Step Towards Restoring Passenger Rail Service Between Phoenixville, Pottstown & Reading
Posted June 17, 2022
This past week, a new bus service was launched connecting residents and visitors from Reading and Pottstown to Central Philadelphia via Amtrak's Thruway Bus Service. This service will serve Chester County's northern communities and is as an important first step in the tri-county initiative to restore passenger rail service between Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading.
The new service will include two daily roundtrips from Downtown Reading's BARTA Transportation Center, departing at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the Hanover Street bus stop in Pottstown, departing at 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Additionally, the bus is scheduled to depart the 30th Street Station at 11:35 a.m. and 5:55 p.m., heading Westbound. By providing this service, riders can gain access to thousands of additional destinations via SEPTA's Regional Rail trains, the Market-Frankford Line subway, or buses in and around the 30th Street Station.
A few weeks prior to the launch of this new service, Chester, Berks, and Montgomery counties joined to form the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) to both oversee and implement the restoration of passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia — a service which ended in 1981.
"With the new Thruway Bus Service and the creation of the SRPRA, things are heading in the right direction for the restoration of a passenger rail service from Reading to Philadelphia," noted Chester County Planning Commission's Executive Director, Brian O'Leary. "We now have a group committed to the initiative which will advocate for federal and state money to help fund the project."
According to PennDOT's Reading to Philadelphia Passenger Rail Analysis, a rail line from Reading to Philadelphia would draw about 2,300 daily riders during the workweek for service that required a transfer in Norristown, and nearly 6,400 daily passengers with no train transfer by the year 2030.
All around the country, Amtrak's Thruway service connects sizable towns and popular destinations to cities that aren't served with passenger rail. The Thruway bus will cost just $9 one way from Pottstown and $14 one way from Reading, with a free transfer to SEPTA's Suburban and Jefferson Stations in Center City.
This initiative supports the Connect goal in Chester County's comprehensive plan, Landscapes3, as it helps to advance efficient, reliable, and innovative transportation, utility, and communications infrastructure systems that responsibly serve thriving and growing communities.