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SEPTA Strike Notes

Even though I ride SEPTA every day, I haven’t commented on the strike. Frankly, I felt guilty for how little the strike has affected me personally. The trains are not only unaffected by the strike, but they are even less crowded than usual because they’ve added extra cars to every train. And because I take the train right through Center City, I’ve never had to stand in the long lines that queue up each evening to board the outbound trains. I’ve got it easy, I admit.

Tonight (day 4 of the strike) was different. I started writing this while trapped on a train just outside 30th Street Station because of “wire problems.” Whatever. We finally limped into the station where I got a first-hand look at what people have to deal with to take a train out of Center City. Pretty horrendous. The folks on our train (an R5) we’re somehow deemed “special,” and we were let through the incredibly long lines to meet another R5. Heck, we’d already waited over an hour. This just serves to remind me that even when the strike is settled, the regional rail system won’t be any better than it is now. We’ll still have plenty of wire problems and delays to look forward to.

As a union member myself, I naturally sympathize reflexively with my union brethren, but really I haven’t closely examined the issues. I have read that the major sticking point is the health insurance premium and co-pay. All I can say about that is I would love to have the deal that SEPTA is offering its workers—a 5% premium and a $10 co-pay. That would be great. But that’s not the point; I know it’s way more complicated than that.

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