septastrike

The SEPTA strike could continue through Election Day.

Photo: Tiffany Pham / The Daily Pennsylvanian

The SEPTA strike, now entering its second week, appears more and more likely to continue into Election Day. One super PAC hopes to at least mitigate any potential effect on voter turnout.

My Ride to Vote, a California-based super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, will be paying for Uber and Lyft rides to Philadelphia polls on Tuesday.

An update posted on the super PAC page on Nov. 5 stressed the urgency of the campaign specifically in Philadelphia, since the SEPTA strike is still ongoing.

“Philly is one of the largest turnout cities for Pennsylvania. All of these voters are going to need rides,” it said.

Contract negotiations between SEPTA and representatives of Transportation Workers Union Local 234 did not end in an agreement by their Oct. 31 deadline, which resulted in over 5,000 SEPTA workers walking off the job. The strike has impacted bus and trolley routes, as well as the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway lines.

Penn created a contingency plan for faculty, staff and students affected by the SEPTA strike. Employees of Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn will receive complimentary guest passes to use sponsored transit services during the strike.

Commuters have also been encouraged to use alternative commuting options, such as carpooling, walking and biking during the strike, but one super PAC will provide another option for potential voters concerned about being able to cast their ballot on Tuesday.

As of Nov. 6, there is no end in sight for the SEPTA strike. In 2009, a SEPTA strike lasted six days, but in 1998, a strike lasted 40 days.

Political science professor Matthew Levendusky said his commute has changed, but he has adapted without much effort. He normally takes the Market-Frankford Line to Penn, but lately has been using a bike from the Indego rideshare program.

Thankfully the weather has been cooperating for Penn commuters. Many people have been walking to and from campus.

However, not everyone in Philadelphia has had similar accommodations. Students in the Philadelphia School District have been affected by the SEPTA strike as well.

On the second day of the strike, Nov. 2, elementary school attendance dipped by nearly 5 percentage points compared to the Wednesday before, according to the school district. In middle schools, 81 percent of students attended on Nov. 1 and 86 percent on Nov. 2, compared to nearly 95 percent on those days during the previous week.

“Students who normally use SEPTA, and are unable to attend school due to lack of transportation will be marked excused absence,” Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. said in a letter to parents and guardians posted on the district’s website.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.