Philadelphia is now home to the city’s newest African-American owned and operated bus company.
STSC Transportation Services will focus on serving consumers seeking inexpensive transportation options.
“At this time with the economy being the way that it is and how expensive it is to travel, we want to give them a cheaper alternative, friendly customer service and a nice ride up to New York and other locations that we plan to add,” said STSC Transportation co-owner Jeremy Walker.
Walker and his business partners have been working on launching their bus operation since last October.
“We’re so excited to begin operation here in Philadelphia,” said Walker.
“Philadelphia is in the center of two major cities, which provides the perfect location for our affordable and customer friendly bus services.”
Walker said the company distinguishes itself by offering low, flat-rate ticket pricing, an open ticketing system that allows passengers the flexibility to purchase tickets and travel when they want.
STSC Transportation marked its grand opening on June 27 with a ribbon cutting ceremony that drew politicians and business leaders. When the company started offering bus services back in April, it became the city’s newest African-American owned bus company.
“It’s actually a huge accomplishment,” said Walker, 34, who has background as an attorney.
“Not only is it a huge accomplishment, it’s a great opportunity. To be able to set up a company here, shows that Philadelphia is making progress — that anyone given an opportunity can be successful.”
Walker credits City Councilman Mark Squilla with being instrumental in helping STSC Transportation set up shop in Philadelphia.
“Councilman Squilla was all about it from day one. He loved the idea. He loved being able to bring a minority-owned bus company into his district. He actually laid the ground work for us to be able to get everything through,” said Walker.
Squilla said that he saw STSC Transportation as an opportunity to fill a void that existed in Chinatown. The company that previously provided bus service in the area went out of business last year.
“There is a need for transportation between Philadelphia’s Chinatown area and New York and I thought this was a great opportunity. It was a minority-owned firm that was going to help and create jobs in my district and I was more than willing and happy to help,” Squilla said, noting that Philadelphia Parking Authority and Streets Department worked together to make it happen.
“I think it will be a great plus for my district and the city.”
The bus company currently has 40 employees and will be adding more as it expands operations.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation shut down 26 curbside bus operators around the country due to safety concerns.
Walker stressed that safety is a major focus of the company. With that in mind, STSC’s drivers receive almost 30 days of training.
“We put a lot of focus on safety. We put them in certain situations and see how they respond in those situations,” he said.
STSC Transportation currently offers eight round-trips from Philadelphia to New York. Buses depart from 115 North 9th Street in Chinatown and transport passengers to 11 Allen Street in Manhattan. Tickets can be purchased from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week at the ticket office, located at 115 North 9th St. Now through August 31, STSC is running a special of $2 off its regular $12 one-way ticket price.
The company plans to begin offering bus rides to Washington, D.C. and Boston by the end of July.