Here’s How Screwed We Are If SEPTA Workers Strike

SEPTA identifier

Earlier this month, the 5,000 members of Transit Workers Union Local 234 voted to strike if union leadership has not reached an agreement with SEPTA management by Halloween. Spooky!

October 31st is near, and though talks are ongoing, there still isn’t a deal. So SEPTA has released a guide for riders if TWU does walk out — and we’re all in for some major hassles.

In the event of a strike, there will be no bus, subway/El or trolley service within the city limits. Regional Rail, suburban bus lines, Routes 101 and 102, the Norristown High Speed-Line, the LUCY shuttle service, the Horsham Breeze, CCT Connect and a few other lines will still be in operation. Read more »

I’ve Been Paying for SEPTA With a Credit Card. It’s a Godsend.

SEPTA Quick Trip ticket

A SEPTA Quick Trip ticket for an El ride I took last month.

There’s been a little extra kick in my step recently, and when I walk outside the birds seem to be singing. There is only one thing that can explain it: I’ve been using a credit card to pay for my rides on the El and the Broad Street subway.

Late last month, SEPTA announced it had deployed “Quick Trip” tickets at select SEPTA Key kiosks on the Broad Street subway and Market-Frankford El. A Quick Trip purchase gives the rider a single ride for $2.25. What makes this different than handing a SEPTA employee two dollars and a quarter is that you can buy this trip with a credit card.

I’ve been riding SEPTA my whole life. Despite this, I never remember to bring tokens (or exact change). Before last month, my experience would’ve been like this: I duck into a corner deli, tap MAC, and then buy a soda so I’ll have $2.25 for the subway or the bus. Or, if the El stop has a token machine, I put in $20 and get 11 tokens and four nickels in return. In the worst-case scenario, I’d find myself paying $5 to get on the El. It wasn’t a great setup.

But in the last month, things have gotten easier. Instead of having to spend money to make change, I can just dip my card at a SEPTA Key machine and get a slip of paper that allows me to ride the subway. After 30 years of tokens, I feel so free. Read more »

SEPTA Union Votes to Authorize Strike

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Regional Rail fiasco may have just ended, but SEPTA’s woes are far from over.

The roughly 5,000-member Transport Workers Union Local 234, which represents around half of SEPTA’s workforce, voted unanimously last night to authorize a strike that could continue through Election Day. If a settlement isn’t reached by October 31st, when the union’s current contract expires, the organization could strike immediately afterward. Read more »

SEPTA Union May Strike on Election Day

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The union representing SEPTA bus, subway and trolley operators will be asked to authorize a strike in the event that a new contract isn’t in place before November 1st, according to a report in PlanPhilly.

The 5,185-member Transport Workers Union Local 234 will vote on Sunday. Union president Willie Brown told the website he expects the members to authorize the strike. A “yes” vote wouldn’t make a strike inevitable, but it would give Brown the authority to call one if contract negotiations stall. Read more »

Spend Your SEPTA Commute Thinking About This, Science Says

This morning, I spent my SEPTA commute — a super-short ride compared to the commutes of some of my coworkers, who train in from places like Bucks County every single day — doing what I do every morning: Listening to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the trillionth time and mentally cursing the person lacking any sense of self-awareness bumping me with their backpack over and over and over again. Because there is always, always one of these backpack-wielding, spatial-awareness-lacking humans on the El at 8 a.m. on a weekday.

But a new study suggests that if you want to turn a somewhat miserable morning commute into a beneficial activity, then rather than spending your train time daydreaming about what life would be like if Beyoncé were to swoop in on a unicorn (I’m sure she owns one) and adopt you right then and there, you should think about work. Yes: Science says we should all be thinking about work on our daily commutes into the office.

I know, that sounds kind of terrible. But hear me out.

Read more »

Why Philly Refuses to Become a 24-Hour City

Illustration by Gluekit

Illustration by Gluekit

Every so often, an out-of-towner crashes into Philly with a bold new idea. Almost inevitably, said out-of-towner runs into a brick wall. One recent example: An August story in the Inquirer detailed an audacious plan to transform a block in Callowhill into a world-class destination for late-night clubbing. The project — a luxury 16-story residential tower and 1,000-person dance club, complete with a Finnish sound system and bottle service — is the brainchild of a 24-year-old impresario from Connecticut who looks like a postpubescent Rick Moranis. Predictably, Philadelphians ripped the entire concept apart on social media, like pigeons attacking a day-old Amoroso roll. Read more »

How Did This Pac-Man Token Get Into a SEPTA Machine?

Namco video game token found in a SEPTA token machine

This arcade token came out of a SEPTA token machine. You’re not supposed to ride the subway with it, but it will get you halfway to a game of pop-a-shot in most arcades. | Photo: Christian Alsis

Christian Alsis lives in Pennsport and works in Old City. He takes the 57 bus to get to the office, and generally buys tokens at the machines at the 2nd Street El stop. He puts in a $20 bill, and gets 11 tokens and four nickels in return.

Last week, however, Alsis got something different: Five nickels, 10 tokens and one Pac-Man arcade token. He couldn’t believe it. He talked to a SEPTA employee in a little booth, who wasn’t having it. “I went up to him and I said, ‘Hey this machine just gave me a Pac-Man token like that instead of a SEPTA token,’” he says. “The guy said, ‘I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t really help you.’ I’m sure they get that every day, people trying to run weird token scams.” Read more »

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