The strike lasted for 14 days After 14 days without public transportation, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority strike is over. SEPTA's buses, trains and trolleys hit the streets yesterday afternoon, and by 3 p.m., the Market-Frankford and Broad Street subway lines were operational, although providing limited and often delayed service. Clarence Brangman, assistant general manager for surface operations, and Juan Torres, assistant general manager for the subway-elevated division, both said they expect the entire system to be 100 percent operational by tomorrow morning. As for the University faculty, staff and students who had to depend on contingency travel plans, yesterday was their last ride on alternate routes. University Vice President for Business Services Steve Murray said the special buses were scheduled to stop running as of last night. In addition, the message on the 898-MELT hotline is announcing that the strike "appears to have been settled." "We very happy it's over and that things will be back tomorrow," Murray said. "The University community, faculty and staff have done a terrific job of pulling together and finding ways to get to work. Because of their efforts, the strike had fairly minimal impact on University as a whole." SEPTA Deputy General Manager Howard Roberts said he shook hands with union President Harry Lombardo at approximately 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning after several grueling hours of negotiations in the in the Wyndham/Franklin Hotel. But he added that at about 11 p.m. Sunday night, he had little confidence and was ready to give up. "Suddenly something seemed to break and things started to move rapidly," Roberts said. He added that the two-week mark was imperative so that permanent riders would not be lost. He said that SEPTA estimated losing $30 to $60 million in revenue if the strike was prolonged. "We are about to go into the killing zone for ridership," he said. During the strike, Mayor Ed Rendell came under harsh criticism by Lombardo and SEPTA strikers for not getting involved in the strike. Roberts said, however, that the strike would not have been settled without the help of the mayor. "The mayor and the chief of staff [David Cohen] were absolutely instrumental in bringing about this particular settlement," he said. The terms of the agreement include a 3 percent "backloaded" wage increase for each year of the contract which will begin on December 15, 1995. An additional 3 percent increase will take effect on December 15, 1997. The union originally asked for a 3 percent wage increase effective immediately that would have cost SEPTA $36 million. Under the settlement, however, SEPTA will only have to pay $21 million. Septa General Manager Louis Gambaccini stressed that the money for the increase came from "savings." Other terms of the contract include raising the cap on yearly pensions from $35,000 to $40,000, an increase in sick pay from 39 percent to 45 percent and an increase in the union's dental benefits. SEPTA plans to finance the increase by restructuring the workers' compensation system and reducing accident-related personal injury claims. SEPTA sales offices are providing credits for unused weekly and monthly passes purchased for travel during the last two weeks. And SEPTA will continue to accept Transpasses through April 15 for regional rail trips to and from the 51 railroad stations in Philadelphia. During the SEPTA strike, the city's transit system was crippled, shutting down all bus, train and trolley service and affecting over 400,000 riders. Only portions of the regional rail lines remained unaffected.Comments powered by Disqus
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