Businesses, Residents Prepare for SEPTA Strike

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    While negotiations between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the near 5,000 Transport Workers Union Local 234 employees that support Philadelphia's transit system are still underway, businesses and residents are making strike contingency plans.

    In the event of a strike, more than one million transit riders would have to find alternate ways to get around the city.

    Temple University Health System (TUHS) is coming up with plans to help its 9,000 employees get to work in case of a strike.

    TUHS spokesman Jeremy Walter said the medical center plans to handle a strike in much the same way it's handled previous service interruptions.

    "We make sure Temple University Hospital staff is aware and informed about a possible strike and we put multiple alternate plans. Alternative transportation options include urging them to carpool, and offering discounted parking for Temple University Hospital employees at Temple University Hospital garages," Walter said.

    According to Walter, in the event of a strike, TU Hospital staff will be allowed to ride Temple University student shuttle bus routes by showing their employee ID.

    TUHS has also activated an information hot line, 215-707-7775, to provide updates on the strike.

    The following message was recorded on the hot line late Friday afternoon:

    "This is the Temple University hospital hot line. There is currently no septa strike, and septa services are running on a normal schedule. If a septa strike does occur, Temple University hospital will issue the appropriate code white emergency alert to ensure that all units and departments are fully staffed for the next shift, if a septa strike occurs this hot line will offer additional information."

    Locally headquartered food service company Aramark said it is also preparing its employees for strike conditions.

    "We are closely monitoring the situation and have contingency plans in place for our employees, including suggestions for carpooling, ride share programs, parking and telecommuting," Aramark spokesman Karen Cutler said.

    "We are keeping employees up to date through our company intranet and email notification system."

    Steve Drabkowski, 54, said he has lived in the city since 1983 and has thus seen the impact of seven transit strikes.

    In his experience, Drabkowski recommended biking and carpooling, and warned of what could turn out to be a real parking war.

    "Biking would be easier now because we have bike lanes versus trying to deal with traffic before. But, of course, parking is going to become a bit of a problem because everybody is going to try to drive now. So hopefully people who have friends who all work in the same area try carpooling because you can then share in whatever parking costs," he said.

    As for his own commute, Drabkowski said he'll likely take advantage of suburban routes or take a bike ride, which could prove to be a bit of a workout.

    "For me, since I live in Upper Darby now, it doesn’t really do much for me because I usually take one of the trolleys. So, I would either have to maybe pick up the regional rail train in Landsdowne or learn to bike into Center City from my house, which probably wouldn’t be bad going into work because it's primarily down hill; but coming back might be a little bit of an issue."