PHILADELPHIA — A new bus service will help connect residents of Berks and Montgomery counties to trains in Philadelphia.
Amtrak announced Friday that it will launch Thruway bus service from Reading and Pottstown to Philadelphia. The goal, he said, is to connect passengers to Amtrak trains and buses in Philadelphia, which serve more than 1,000 destinations.
Starting Monday, two daily return trips will run between the BARTA transport hub in downtown Reading and the bus stop on Hanover Street in Pottstown, across the train tracks from the Charles W. Dickinson, with the 30th Street station in Philadelphia and the Amtrak rail network.
Tourism officials said the service could be a real boost for the region.
“I got the press release from you, from 69 News, and I thought, ‘Damn, this is great. This is great news,'” said Crystal Seitz, chair of the Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It made my weekend!”
Krapf Coaches will operate the service under an agreement with Amtrak.
Seitz said the new bus service will help Berks attract more conferences and conventions, and it could be a huge economic boom in the area.
“For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses would be about one million to about one and a half million [-dollar] event weekend, so yeah, the economic impact in terms of dollars is perfect for our city.”
The new service comes as a three-county authority explores the possibility of restoring rail service between Reading and Philadelphia. Amtrak also offered to connect Reading and New York by rail via Philadelphia.
“It’s a great first step to see what the demand looks like and how many customers we see using this service, and then I think we can kind of take it from there,” said spokeswoman Beth Toll. from Amtrak.
Customers can purchase tickets on the Amtrak website, Amtrak mobile apps, kiosks at stations, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.
Rail service between Reading and Philadelphia ended in 1981.