Commuters relieved SEPTA strike over, regional rail operating

Local regional rail commuters are breathing a sigh of relief today.

More than 400 SEPTA regional rail workers who walked off the job on Saturday were back at work yesterday morning, after President Obama intervened to end the strike.

During rush hour at Suburban Station today, trains were running mostly on time and passengers were in good spirits.

“I was so elated when I found out that they were not on strike today,” said Cheryl Williams, who was traveling to work in Dover, Delaware.

Ravern Hansel, who works at Philadelphia International Airport, said she was glad the strike ended over the weekend.

“If it didn’t, I would have snapped,” she said.

Otherwise, Hansel said, she would have had to make her way to South Philadelphia, take a bus, and then drive some more to get to work.

“That would have definitely killed me,” she said. “I couldn’t do it.”

Echoing that sentiment, commuter Bob Thornton tried to imagine how he’d get to his job at Merck in North Wales without SEPTA’s regional rail.

“I would have to planes, trains, and automobiles it there somehow — without the trains,” he said. “I’d have to start making a lot of friends with cars.”

West Chester resident Craig Loundas had to drive to his teaching job at Drexel on Saturday.

That was enough for him to make alternate plans with a friend, just in case SEPTA workers went on strike again.

“I think we’re going to do two things. Either we’re going to travel together, or take the trolley from Media into 69th Street and then take the ‘El’ from there.” He said that would add about 30 minutes to his trip.

President Obama’s emergency mediation board has 30 days to deliver a report recommending how to resolve the contract dispute between SEPTA and two of its unions.

The process is designed to prevent another strike for 240 days.

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