A night in the life of my work commute

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I jiggled the door handle. Nothing happened.

The cab driver unlocked all the doors of his car by the automatic button to his left. I heard the back passenger door struggle to follow through with the command, the sounds of electronics on their last moments of life on a dying battery. Another jiggle, and nothing.

The window was all the way down. I reached inside to try opening the door that way. Still nothing.

We shared a laugh — his likely more genuine than mine — and I walked around the car and entered the back through the driver’s side.

It was a few minutes shy of 1:40 a.m. and my daily commute to work was about to get underway.

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SEPTA struggles: My strike commute

SEPTA strike

Workers of SEPTA's largest union, TWU Local 234, have been on strike since early Tuesday.

In case you haven’t heard, SEPTA is on strike.

I am one of those affected commuters who relies on SEPTA to get to and from work. I began my day open-minded, even after oversleeping and knowing of the possible trials and tribulations ahead of me.

Thus, here was my day:

8:31 a.m. – I arrive at Temple’s shuttle stop, conveniently a half-block from my apartment. The gated, locked Broad Street Line entrance stares at my face, laughing. I tear up a little, but that may be the cold since I failed to check the weather prior to leaving my apartment.

8:51 a.m. – I now realize I could’ve gone back to my apartment, grabbed some gloves, checked the weather and perhaps baked some cookies since I’m still waiting for the shuttle.

8:53 a.m. – As the crowd waiting for the shuttle grows, I begin to wonder if everyone will fit on the shuttle. I also realize people just walking up now will probably be able to board while I’ll be waiting for the next shuttle.

9:04 a.m. – Shuttle No. 1 arrives. My prediction was correct. I wait for Shuttle No. 2.

9:22 a.m. – Shuttle No. 2 arrives. I surprisingly board and find a seat. It’s the first time in six years I’m taking a school bus to school. But it’s a cool looking school bus.

9:29 a.m. – We make the long trek four blocks to City Hall. I think about how this series of events could be a mildly entertaining blog post.

9:30 a.m. – “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel comes on my iPod. My mood improves ever so slightly.

9:34 a.m. – My mother calls me as a girl shoves her red backpack in my face. Clearly, we have decided to disregard the rule plastered at the front of the bus, “Absolutely no standees permitted.” My mom, a SEPTA employee, informs me that my TransPass is, in fact, valid on SEPTA Regional Rail (conveniently not on strike) even during peak hours. My next commute will be different.

Temple shuttle

Photo: Chris Stover | The shuttle bus that took me from Center City to Temple's campus is decked out in a wrap designed by Tyler students.

9:36 a.m. – Our bus gets into a duel a la 2 Fast 2 Furious with a normal-looking school bus. It’s somewhat terrifying yet equally exhilarating. I never knew bus drivers had it in them.

9:37 a.m. – “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” comes on my iPod. I find it appropriate, as it inspires me to be the arbitrator between SEPTA and the TWU and settle this strike once and for all. And then reality sets in when “We Didn’t Start the Fire” comes on next.

Read more of this exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat tale after the jump.

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