Regular city service for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) could come to halt Monday if talks between the largest transit union and the transit authority don't significantly progress.
SEPTA and about 5,000 Transport Workers Union (TWU) employees that operate and service the buses, trolleys and subway trains within Philadelphia remain at odds over pensions. The union claims managers get more pension benefits while the rank-and-file worker makes more contributions.
TWU Local 234 leader Willie Brown and SEPTA officials have met each day this week after the union authorized a strike over the weekend.
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If negotiations fail, about 900,000 daily transit riders will be left scrambling to find new ways to get around to work, school, appointments or other places.
Brown said riders would get 24 hours' notice of a walkout, a statement SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams praised. The earliest the union said that a strike could happen is Monday.
What to Know
Here's what SEPTA riders need to know if a strike occurs:
You will not be able to use:
- Market-Frankford Line
- Broad Street and Broad Ridge Spur Line
- City transit buses
- Trolley and Trackless Trolley routes
You will be able to use:
- Regional Rail Lines
- Norristown High Speed Line
- Some suburban bus and trolley service
- CCT Connect
According to SEPTA, Regional Rail lines are the best travel option during a service interruption.
Williams warns that suburban service, especially lines operating out of the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, depend on UTU Local 1594 employees staying on the job.
Riders who decide to use Regional Rail can park at regional rail train stations for $1-$2, though spaces will likely fill up quickly.
Riders who purchased transit passes before a service interruption may receive full or partial refunds for unused passes.
Bicycles: If you commute four miles or less, a bicycle may be your best option, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCOG). During the 2009 SEPTA Strike, bicycling jumped 38 percent, according to the BCOG. And a lot of the stranded SEPTA riders who chose to bike, were women. If you don't have a bike, you can rent one. Click here for some rental company names and numbers from the BCOG.
Cars: If you don't own one, you can rent one through any of the car rental companies. Most are located at Philadelphia International Airport. Some have satellite offices at other locations. You can also explore car sharing. Zipcar.com offers hourly car rentals and there is EnterpriseCarShare.
Carpools: You can lean on family and friends first, or you can hop online and find someone to carpool with. One service that helps match up people is CarpoolWorld.com. Share-A-Ride is another program that helps match you with a carpool, but the turnaround time is two business days.
Cabs: Click here for Yelp.com's list of Philly cab companies.
And the @SEPTA_SOCIAL team will be troubleshooting via Twitter and updates.
The union's last strike in 2009 lasted six days.