On the SEPTA strike beat. Again.

septa

A rundown from CBS This Morning on Nov. 1, 2016. (Red is a bad thing.)

When I saw the news early Tuesday morning of the SEPTA strike in Philadelphia, I had a flashback to 11 years ago.

I was a cub reporter for The Temple News. I’d written two articles (poorly) for the paper so far, and then one of SEPTA’s unions decided to strike. It was a Monday. And my news editor asked me to go get reaction to the strike from Temple students stranded with no transportation.

So that’s just what I did. I spoke to several students waiting for emergency Temple shuttles that never seemed to arrive. And frustration was rampant.

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SEPTA unveils more user-friendly Web site

SEPTA launched a more accessible Web site this afternoon.

In the second “long-time-coming” post in a day, more Web site news to share.

SEPTA, the sixth-largest public transportation agency in the country, has launched a sleeker, new Web site.

Schedule information is much more accessible (though, as of today, there are still bugs to be worked out — Regional Rail and trolley schedules are MIA), and important links for riders — including customer service comments — are conveniently posted on the home page.

Next on the agenda, from a rider’s perspective, should be a new “Plan My Trip” feature. The old one is still in tact, but SEPTA also gives the option of Google Transit. But an in-house feature would be much easier to use. I gave up on Google Transit almost immediately.

 

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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