Possible SEPTA Strike Looms

Following the announcement that SEPTA will strike on Oct. 31, the university has made plans to provide supplementary transportation for commuters.

Mark Eyerly, the university’s chief communications officer, said that the university is monitoring the situation very closely.

“A significant portion of Temple students and faculty use SEPTA to get to our campuses. Previously in the past when there have been job actions and strikes, we have put together a combination of efforts to help out,” Eyerly said.

Although the university does not have a definitive plan at this time, Eyerly said that they will be prepared on Oct. 31 if SEPTA does go on strike.

“We run shuttle buses to different pick-up and drop-off locations, we arrange discounted parking rates for people to carpool. So there are a range of options for people that we have put in place to try to make it a little bit easier for people to still get to campus,” Eyerly said.

The university will be increasing the number of buses that run from campus, and will also be increasing the number of stops that the shuttles make along Broad Street.

Eyerly also said that in the past, shuttle busses have also made pick-ups at the sports complex in South Philadelphia.

Currently, the university offers shuttle service to the Franklin House, Temple University Center City, the School of Podiatric Medicine and the university’s two suburban campuses. Bus crowding is already a problem that is recognized by the university.

“Honestly, I really haven’t made any plans to adjust, but I figure I’ll have to take Temple shuttles,” Warren Morrison, a senior, said.

“It’d be very appreciated [if Temple provided temporary service,] because Temple shuttle services aren’t the best way to get to campus,” Morrison said.

Because the university has yet to say specifically how commuters will be assisted, many students have not made plans for alternate transportation.

Dan Morris, a senior, usually rides the Broad Street Subway every day. Now, he plans to ride a bike to class.

“I’ll pedal down Broad Street,” Morris said. “I have a car, but it’s more convenient to catch a train to school, because of parking.”

Commuters who use the Cecil B. Moore subway station are worried about the strike, but few know how they’ll get to class when the subways stop running.

5,644 people ride trains from the station every day, SEPTA said. 1,439,220 ride from the station every year.

Shanae Devore, a sophomore, uses the subway to get to school and work every day. She, like many students, has no alternate form of transportation if there are no subways.

“I go to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I go to class Tuesday and Thursday,” Devore said. “If SEPTA goes on strike I may still be able to get to work in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I don’t know how I’ll get to school.”

Union officials for Transport Workers Union Local 234, which is SEPTA’s largest union, decided last week to strike Oct. 31 at 12:01 a.m. if their contract demands are not met by that time.

A strike would derail SEPTA’s subway, bus and trolley services, but would not affect the regional rails to suburban areas.

The conflict between SEPTA and the union stems from a proposed increase in health-care premiums for the workers. SEPTA workers have been working without a contract since March 15.

The last SEPTA strike, in 1998, lasted 40 days.

Eyerly said that the university will not release their completed plans for transportation until the strike date is closer.

“We won’t make an announcement about implementation [of a plan] until we were within a week of a possible strike date. On the other hand, we want to give students time to know how they will handle this,” Eyerly said.

Emily Catalano and Christopher Reber can be contacted at TempleNews@GMail.com.

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