October 26, 2016
As Philadelphia braces for a potential transit strike next week, SEPTA released a contingency plan for riders who would be affected by a stoppage of the city's buses, subways and trolleys.
Transport Workers Union Local 234 is set to strike at midnight Tuesday, Nov. 1 unless it reaches a new contract agreement with the transit agency.
A strike would send tens of thousands of SEPTA riders searching for new commutes to work or school, likely jamming Philadelphia's already busy streets with even more motorists and bicyclists.
The strike would not shut down SEPTA's Regional Rail trains. But that service is still recovering from the repairs to its entire Silverliner V fleet. Trains are operating on their normal schedules, but not all of the Silverliner V cars have been repaired yet.
SEPTA released a "Service Interruption Guide" on Wednesday to assist riders adversely impacted by the potential strike. Noting rush-hour commutes would incur the biggest impact, SEPTA encouraged employers to adjust work hours and implement flexible schedules, if possible.
A strike would shut down all city bus routes, the Market-Frankford Line, the Broad Street Line and trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36. The Norristown High Speed Line, suburban buses and suburban trolley routes 101 and 102 would still operate. So would LUCY shuttles and CCT Connect.
SEPTA anticipates some transit riders would opt to use Regional Rail but warns that options there may be limited. Trains already are operating at or near capacity. SEPTA did say it would consider adding some trips and having express trains make extra stops.
If SEPTA transit workers strike, Regional Rail passengers who board trains at Temple, Jefferson, Suburban, 30th Street and University City stations would encounter some changes.
Riders at those stations would not be permitted to wait for trains on the platform between 2:45 and 7 p.m. Instead, they would be asked to form lines on the concourse level to avoid overcrowded platforms.
Also, all prepaid fares would be collected prior to boarding. Customers without a prepaid fare would need to purchase a ticket from a sales window before getting in line to board. SEPTA fare collection staff cannot accept cash payment.
Monthly or weekly TransPasses will be fully or partially reimbursed if SEPTA transit workers go on strike, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said. The length of a strike would determine the discount. More refund information will be made available once any strike concludes.
If a strike occurs, SEPTA ambassadors will be on hand at stations to provide assistance and information to customers.
SEPTA encourages riders to continue checking its website for updates. Brochures with alternate service information are available at stations. Customer service representatives can be reached at 215-580-7800.
Local 234 and SEPTA resumed contract negotiations Tuesday. Among the sticking points: contributions to employee pensions and health care insurance.
Local 234 last went on strike in 2009, walking out for six days. They also went on strike for seven days in 2005.