Super Bowl-sized sickout leaves SEPTA riders dealing with delays

Dozens of bus and rail routes are seeing driver shortages because of operators calling in sick on this post-Super Bowl Monday.

A transit security officer works on the platform of the Girard stop

A transit security officer works on the platform of the Girard stop of the Market-Frankford Line train on July 15, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Several school districts in the Philadelphia region had planned for delays the Monday after the Super Bowl. But the delays riders are experiencing on SEPTA trains and buses were not expected. Instead, they are the result of a major sick-out among operators at the transit agency.

SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said dozens of drivers called out sick Monday morning, resulting in a cascade of delays for bus routes and regional rail lines.

“It’s difficult to say exactly what the reasons are for the callouts, but what we’re trying to do is make sure that we’re posting up-to-date information on our website and on Twitter about routes that are impacted.”

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Busch said SEPTA cannot immediately connect the massive number of sick calls to the Super Bowl.

“We’ll have to look at it a little closer after we close out the day,” he said. “So, yes, it’s a little too early to say that. And I’m not sure it’s a special circumstance this time, obviously, with the Eagles being in the Super Bowl.”

As the day progresses, Busch said he believes SEPTA will be able to re-allocate existing operators to cover all routes, but there still could be delays systemwide.

Busch could not say whether SEPTA sees similar outages after every Super Bowl.

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There has been a push to make the day after the big game a holiday, to no avail.

The School District of Philadelphia was among those that opened its doors two hours late in expectation of a slow start to the day.

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