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With SEPTA back on track, students and commuters are returning to normalcy in their travels around the city.

After SEPTA’s largest union went on strike at 3 a.m. last Tuesday, many Penn employees were forced to quickly find an alternate way to work. But after a period of initial confusion, Penn’s strike contingency plan picked up the slack.

According to Business Services spokeswoman Barbara Lea-Kruger, SEPTA had provided 24 hours notice before its previous strikes. This time, though, the strike took many by surprise.

The morning of the strike, Penn’s contingency plan was already in effect by 7:30 a.m., as extra shuttle buses hit the pavement, and Drexel University buses followed a half-hour later.

“We really turned it around on a dime,” Lea-Kruger said.

Though that morning many Penn employees were not fully aware of the specifics of the contingency plan, the University’s emergency information line was updated last Tuesday to provide information about the strike.

Business Services also sent a University-wide e-mail informing the Penn community of alternate transportation options.

College senior Emma Morgenstern said she had to walk back to campus from a trip downtown last week due to the strike.

Though she said she was able to easily find information about Penn’s shuttles, the contingency plan schedule did not align with her own.

She added that she was also alerted about strike information by Penn’s Twitter account.

During the four-and-a-half business days the strike was in effect, the extra east and west shuttles provided by Business Services transported 2,000 passengers. Drexel’s shuttles added nearly another 2,000 passengers.

The normally operating Penn Transit shuttles also saw a drastic increase in ridership during the strike.

From Nov. 3-6 last year, Penn Transit served 909 riders. During the same four-day interval this year, ridership was over 3,500.

According to Lea-Kruger, Business Services made minor adjustments to the plan based on traffic issues.

“Overall we were pretty successful,” she added.

Some Penn employees expressed their gratitude for the shuttles during the strike.

“The Penn shuttle service from 16th and Locust [streets] to campus absolutely saved me,” Amy Bru, who works in the Office of Government and Community Affairs, wrote in an e-mail.

Jane Horwitz, associate director of the Penn Science Teacher Institute, also commended the University’s organization during the strike.

“All in all, a negative situation became a positive experience,” she said.

The week-long strike ended early Monday morning when SEPTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 234 were able to resolve lingering issues revolving around health care and the employees’ pension fund.

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