There’s a hint of irony in the “Go Phillies!!!” messages flashing across SEPTA buses as transit employees prepare to strike on the eve of World Series play this weekend.
The Local 234 Transport Workers Union voted last Sunday to strike if an agreement could not be reached with the transportation authority by midnight Saturday — but both SEPTA and the University are prepared with their own contingency plans.
The news comes just as SEPTA prepares for peak ridership numbers this weekend with the Flyers, Phillies and Eagles all playing at home.
The strike would affect bus, trolley and train services within Philadelphia. Regional rail and suburban transit would not be affected, nor would LUCY loop service.
SEPTA workers have worked without a contract since March.
“Our patience has run out,” the TWU wrote in its October newsletter.
TWU leadership and SEPTA management have been working to resolve the issue with a mediator all week, but as of Thursday night, no compromise had been reached.
Penn issued a University-wide e-mail Thursday alerting the community of the imminent strike, offering suggestions about how to cope with a possible transit employee walkout.
“We’re urging administrators to be as flexible as possible,” said University spokeswoman Lori Doyle. She added that departments should consider staggering shift times and encourage carpooling should a strike happen.
“We have to plan for the worst,” Doyle said. Should a SEPTA work stoppage occur, the University will update its web site and likely send out another e-mail with more information, she said.
The University has made contingency plans for possible strikes which have been threatened several times in the past, Doyle said. SEPTA employees last went on strike in 2005.
In October of that year, Penn used a plan that is “very similar to the current contingency plan,” Business Services spokeswoman Barbara Lea-Kruger wrote in an e-mail.
The current contingency plan creates bus shuttles to the PATCO terminal and the 69th Street terminal, as well as hospital system routes along Lancaster Avenue, Spruce Street, and Woodland Avenue.
According to Lea-Kruger, 40 percent of the Penn community uses alternative forms of transportation to commute to campus, though she noted this figure includes biking, walking and carpooling.
“Of course everyone could potentially be affected by more traffic congestion if people have to drive,” she said.
College sophomore Sam Schear, who plans to go to the Eagles-Giants game and possibly game four of the World Series on Sunday, said he has planned to drive to the games in case of SEPTA closures.
“It couldn’t come at a worse time,” he said, adding that not providing mass transit this weekend could have “horrendous” results.Comments powered by Disqus
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