Remember last week’s one-day strike by SEPTA’s Regional Rail workers? It shut down when President Obama created a federal mediation board to resolve the situation. Well: Today the federal mediators are in town. It could be a very long process.
While SEPTA Regional Rail trains are back to work thanks to an order by President Barack Obama, there is apparently no progress in talks between SEPTA and the union representing workers on city and suburban bus, trolley and elevated/subway lines.
Talks between Transit Workers Union Local 234 and SEPTA management are stalled over health care cost sharing. Currently, union members pay 1 percent toward health care.
A SEPTA labor relations official wrote that the union has been “bombarding the Authority with detailed requests for health care information.”
Upper Darby Police say the so-called “Knockout Game” might be responsible for this video of a young man suddenly —viciously attacking a commuter as the commuter waited for a trolley.
The attack occurred last week at the Aronimink trolley stop. No arrests have yet been made.
“It could have been worse because they did hit me with glasses on, and they could have sent my glasses right into my eyes,” said the victim. “I take anxiety medicine and it was quite a setback.” (Fox 29)
That didn’t last long. As we told you this weekend, President Obama signed an executive order Saturday that forces striking SEPTA Regional Rail engineers and electrical workers back on the job for the next 240 days while an arbitration board attempts to craft a settlement. Which means you have no excuse to miss work this morning.
Workers struck Saturday, but were back on the job Sunday, the walkout so short-lived that most effects of the strike were muted. (Unless you wanted to go somewhere on Saturday.)
Regular Regional Rail train service to resume at the start of business on Sunday, June 15.
— SEPTA (@SEPTA) June 15, 2014
Following a request earlier today by Gov. Tom Corbett, President Obama signed an executive order this evening that forces striking SEPTA Regional Rail engineers and electrical workers back on the job for the next 240 days while an arbitration board attempts to craft a settlement. Rail service is set to resume for tomorrow’s regularly scheduled first runs.
UPDATE, Saturday morning: It’s official:
Regional Rail service is suspended due to a service interruption. All other SEPTA service is operating.
— SEPTA (@SEPTA) June 14, 2014
ORIGINAL: In the event of a SEPTA strike this weekend by regional rail operators, SEPTA has released its contingency plans. A strike by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) could begin as early as 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning.
A strike would only cause the shutdown of regional rail train lines. There is an alternate service page to search for alternate stations on your route. Travelers headed to the airport can take the Broad Street Line to Snyder and transfer to the 37 bus, or Route 108 from 69th Street. Or, y’know, a taxi.
This year marks SEPTA’s golden anniversary, and this month, the agency will formally celebrate a half-century of keeping Philly moving. It’s done a pretty good job of it, too — but it’s done so in a characteristically Philadelphia fashion, which is to say, with barely enough to get by.
I’ve said in this space that we have an amazing mass transit system here. What may be even more amazing, however, is that we have one at all.
Last year, the American Public Transportation Association honored SEPTA as the Outstanding Large Transit System of 2012. When I tell people SEPTA deserved that award, I usually get puzzled looks at best and “There, there” pats on the head at worst. Some of these people, however, understand when I explain that the agency won the award for keeping this sprawling network running using only duct tape and baling wire.
The good news is that with a steady, guaranteed funding stream in hand, SEPTA can finally put away the duct tape and baling wire and break out the hammers, saws and shovels in order to restore the system to good physical health. But SEPTA was actually following ancient Philly practice with the patchwork jobs.
SEPTA, you see, was created to keep metropolitan Philadelphia’s transit systems from completely falling to pieces. Established to bring the subways, commuter railroads, and bus systems back up to snuff, it spent much of the first half of its life scrambling to make sure they ran at all.
Even before its creation, SEPTA’s predecessors were doing the same thing: scrambling to make sure the buses and trains ran while not quite keeping up with the physical plant needs. It’s a Philly tradition that stretches all the way back to…
SEPTA may be trying to provoke a strike by regional rail workers now, the Inquirer reports, in an attempt to avoid a work stoppage in colder (and higher-ridership) months.
That’s the apparent logic behind the agency’s Monday moves to impose its terms on those workers, which “could prompt a strike that would halt all commuter rail service at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.”
Newsworks reports: “A man in his twenties was fatally struck by a train on SEPTA’s Manayunk/Norristown regional-rail line just before 6:30 a.m. Monday. … The train, No. 839, remained on the tracks near Indian Queen Lane three hours later as investigators from the 39th Police District and SEPTA worked at the scene.”