SEPTA union strikes, afternoon rush hour to be affected

- More than 5,000 members of TWU Local 234 are on strike at SEPTA, the regional transit agency, effective midnight Tuesday, according to the union.

According to the union, key issues separating the parties include equitable pension reform, affordable health care for union members and their families; and non-economic issues including shift scheduling, break time and other measures that affect driver fatigue.

The union says the two sides remain far apart on those issues. SEPTA says it's hopeful that a tentative agreement will be reached before Election Day in one week.

SEPTA has since released a service interruption guide called “What Customers Need to Know in the Event of a City Transit Service Interruption."

WHAT'S RUNNING:

All SEPTA city bus routes; trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36; the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line are NOT operating.

SEPTA Regional Rail lines, the Norristown High Speed Line, Trolley Routes 101 and 102 and suburban bus routes are attempting to operate on their normal schedules, but several trains were delayed, and more than 30 were cancelled for the afternoon rush Tuesday.

Also, CCT, LUCY, and Routes 204, 205, 310 and Cornwells Heights Parking Shuttle are operating.

The city system's daily weekday ridership is about 900,000 trips, and nearly 60,000 public, private and charter school students use it to get to and from school.

Regional Rail trains filled up fast with extra passengers and there were delays during both the morning and afternoon rush hours Tuesday. . Click here to watch FOX 29's Bob Kelly in What’s running, what’s not and commuter contingencies in place.

If you have a TransPass for buses and subways, you’ll be able to use them at all train stations except Forest Hill and Somerton. SEPTA says refunds will be addressed at another time.

SCHOOLS AND CITY GOVERNMENT:

Officials for Catholic and public schools said operations would proceed as normal.

The School District of Philadelphia announced Monday that students who use SEPTA and are unable to attend school due to lack of transportation will get excused absences. Students who arrive late due to the strike will not be marked tardy.

City government will remain open for business. The city has a free shuttle for city employees along the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines. Riders must show proof of city employment.

Called to be on a jury? Jurors can take the employee shuttle with proper documentation and photo ID. Get instructions when confirming your reporting time.

PARKING:

If you plan to drive, select Philadelphia Parking Authority garages will let you park for $10 for up to 10 hours, but they’re expected to fill up fast. Click here for details on several relaxed parking regulations.

Drivers around the region are dealing with heavy hour traffic. Highways into Center City and around town are backed up.

BICYCLES:

The Bicycle Coalition announced planned rides and resources for first-time and seasoned cyclists to get through the strike with a bicycle. Its “Bike the Strike 2016” map shows commuters all Indego bike share stations around the city, Regional Rail stations, bike shops, and all bike lanes in the city.

Every morning, Bicycle Coalition staff and volunteers will be at the Municipal Services Building to answer questions about riding in the city, or getting through the strike on a bike.

Also, on Wednesday, it’ll be holding four group rides for cyclists not accustomed to riding in the city. They will meet at 8am and depart at 8:15am from these locations:
-West Philadelphia: 48th and Spruce
-Northwest: Lloyd Hall
-East: 4th and Spring Garden
-South: 13th and Washington

The Bicycle Coalition says the last time SEPTA held a strike, in 2009, bicycling rose by 38 percent citywide.

STRIKE UPDATES:

At 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, SEPTA public information manager Heather Redfern told FOX 29 there were no talks overnight and was not sure whether talks had started Tuesday morning.

“Our membership voted to go on strike if we did not reach a new agreement by midnight on October 31,” said TWU Local 234 President Willie Brown, who heads the union’s negotiating team. "Despite months of constructive and innovative proposals from our side of the table, management has refused to budge on key issues including safety issues that would save lives and not cost SEPTA a dime. There is no new agreement, so we are on strike.”

TWU 234 represents more than 5,700 workers at SEPTA and other Philadelphia-area employers.

Union members, Brown said, are not reporting for their shifts at SEPTA. Instead, they're reporting for picket duty.

According to the union, key issues separating the parties include equitable pension reform, affordable health care for union members and their families; and non-economic issues including shift scheduling, break time and other measures that affect driver fatigue.

The union says the two sides remain far apart on those issues. SEPTA says it's hopeful that a tentative agreement will be reached before Election Day in one week.

SIGN UP: Get breaking news text alerts from FOX 29 

SEPTA urged businesses to let employees work from home if possible or avoid having workers commute during peak times.

In 2014, union members ratified a two-year contract that averted a threatened walkout. In 2009, a strike by SEPTA workers lasted six days.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories