Amidst seemingly ambivalent attitudes toward the expansion or regression of its rail services, Amtrak recently announced its intention to make a pilot bus program a permanent fixture in northeast Pennsylvania.
The bus service, known as the Thruway Bus, which is privately operated by Martz Trailways, has been connecting the 30th Street Station to Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and White Haven. The 30th Street Station stop to is an addition to existing service to the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal at 10th and Filbert Street.
Extolling the success of the pilot program, Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz remarked that making the service permanent would effectively cost Amtrak nothing, due to the preexisting partnership with Martz Railways, making it a cost-free way of improving service for rail riders rolling in from the northeast.
“As more people hear about it [and] realize this connectivity is available, we’re optimistic that it’ll be a fruitful partnership for the bus company and the railroad,” Schulz told PlanPhilly, a University of Pennsylvania School of Design initiative.
The three-month pilot program was installed to ensure that the Thruway Bus did not cause logistical problems picking up and dropping off passengers at the 30th Street Station’s west plaza. The service will open with six daily buses—three to Philadelphia and three returning to the northeast region. Fares will vary and discounts are available, but a ticket to Scranton from Philadelphia will run in the neighborhood of $39. Bookings can be made via Amtrak’s mobile apps, its website or at bricks-and-mortar ticket windows.