SEPTA Regional Rail conductor dies of coronavirus

Michael Hill’s death marks the first for the Regional Rail division of the authority.

Regional rail train

A train pulling into 30th Street Station. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

SEPTA reports the novel coronavirus has claimed the life of Michael Hill, a Regional Rail conductor. Hill worked at the transit agency for 30 years. This brings the death toll of SEPTA employees to four.

“My thoughts are with all of you and especially his closest colleagues,” said SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards in an email to employees. “Please keep Mike’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and take good care of each other.”

Hill’s death marks the first for the Regional Rail division of the authority. Theodore Nixon from the Elmwood Trolley Depot was the first to succumb to the virus. Phillip Williams out of the Southern Depot was the second, followed by Michael Holt from the Midvale Depot.

SEPTA implemented a series of changes to improve safety on transit that included the distribution of face masks, rider limits on buses and trolleys, and suspension of on-board fare payments. On Regional Rail, where ridership is down to 1%, SEPTA eliminated on-board transactions.

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SEPTA plans to honor the fallen with a memorial when it is deemed safe to do so. SEPTA reported more than 170 confirmed cases as of April 16.

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