Here’s What You Need to Know as the SEPTA Strike Looms

A strike could occur just after midnight tonight. This is spookier than Halloween, people.

Original photo by Flickr user Perry Quan

Original photo by Flickr user Perry Quan

Contract negotiations between SEPTA and representatives of Transportation Workers Union Local 234 over the weekend were reportedly tense. If an agreement is not reached by the time the union’s contract expires at midnight tonight, roughly 5,000 SEPTA employees have said they will walk off the job.

Both SEPTA officials and union workers said they would pull an all-nighter to avoid a strike, the Inquirer reports. SEPTA workers are reportedly asking for longer breaks between shifts, improved health-care coverage and adjusted pensions, according to the newspaper.

A strike would shut down almost all public transportation in the city, including buses, trolleys, and subways; Regional Rail and select services such LUCY will operate.

It’s a troubling thought, considering Election Day is fast approaching. But it’s also daunting for the estimated 576,000 commuters who rely on those services daily. According to the Inquirer, 311,000 people ride the subway every day, while 83,000 take the trolley.

SEPTA released a service interruption guide last week. Here’s what you need to know (see: how screwed we are) if a strike does occur:

  • On Tuesday, November 1st (tomorrow), the only service option will be Regional Rail. That means the trains will likely be chock-full of frustrated passengers who typically rely on other modes of transportation. It’s possible that there will be crowding and delays (nothing we’re exactly new to.)
  • To accommodate an expected increase in ridership, Regional Rail’s express trains will possibly make additional stops.
  • The Norristown High Speed line will continue to operate.
  • Suburban Bus routes above the number 90 will operate.
  • LUCY (the loop through University City) will operate, including Route 310 (Harsham Breeze), Routes 204, 205 and the Cornwells Heights Parking Shuttle.
  • The CCT connect will have regular service for registered ADA and Shared Ride customers.

Again, these lines will NOT operate:

  • City bus routes, including Route 78, Cornwells Heights to Center City Express
  • Market-Frankford Line
  • Broad Street and Broad Ridge Spur lines
  • Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36

Weekly and monthly transpasses will be available at the following locations only:

  • 30th Street Station
  • Suburban Station
  • Jefferson Station
  • Outlying Station with Ticket Office
  • 15th Street SEPTA Sales Office

All other offices, including 1234 Market Street, will be closed. Ticket collection for the morning rush hour (5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) will occur on the platform for trains headed into Center City. Ticket collection for the evening rush (2:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.) will occur on the concourse level for trains leaving Center City.

Finally, regular fares will apply. If you buy or bought a pass before the strike and don’t plan to use it, you could get a full or partial refund. More information on that is expected to come.

Uber said it could plan for service changes in the event of a strike. Updates are expected.

The last SEPTA strike occurred in 2009, just after the World Series games left the city. TWU also went on strike for a week in 2005.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.