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    SEPTA negotiations expected to go down to the wire

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     Commuters wait on a platform to board a SEPTA train. (NewsWorks file photo)

    Commuters wait on a platform to board a SEPTA train. (NewsWorks file photo)

    Labor contract negotiations between SEPTA and Transport Workers Union Local 234 are likely to go right up to the midnight deadline. If an agreement is not reached by then, Philadelphia’s transit employees will strike on Tuesday morning. PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa spoke with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller about the status of negotiations, and what riders should be prepared for in the event of a strike.

    In short, a strike would shut down all city buses, both subway/elevated lines and Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36. Those services provide around 884,000 trips on an average weekday.

    SEPTA’s Regional Rail, the Norristown High Speed Line, Suburban Bus routes, the LUCY, Route 310 (Horsham Breeze), Route 204, Route 205, Cornwells Heights Parking Shuttle, Trolley Routes 101 and 102, and CCT Connect services will remain in service, as the crews operating those work under different contracts.

    However, if the strike lasts, the service shutdown might spread: contracts with suburban maintenance employees represented by Local 234 and 365 vehicle operators in Delaware County represented by the Sheet Metal, Air Rail & Transportation Workers Local 1594 expire on November 18th. Another group of bus operators in Montgomery and Bucks Counties have a contract ending November 23rd. All of those employees would likely adopt whatever agreement TWU signs for its City Transit workers.

    In the event of a strike, Regional Rail and NHSL riders should also prepare for widespread delays starting Tuesday, especially during the evening rush hours, as crowds of regular subway and bus passengers will switch services. Car commuters should expect choked roads across the city.

    District officials confirmed that Philadelphia schools will remain open during the strike.

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