The Transportation Workers Union Local 234 is on strike, bringing SEPTA's subways, buses and trolleys to a halt in Philadelphia. Here are the latest updates from day two of the strike.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan issued a statement Wednesday night showing solidarity with the Transport Workers Union 234 strike.
"We hope TWU and SEPTA management will continue to talk, and arrive quickly at a new contract," Jordan said.
This afternoon, both sides expressed cautious optimism about a resolution to the SEPTA strike tonight. Since then we've had no progress reported.
Service has been restored in both directions on SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line. The line was suspended for more than an hour after police investigated a person who was hit and killed by a train at Angora Station.
SEPTA is instructing passengers traveling inbound "between Secane and University City Stations will need to board from the outbound platforms."
At this stage of the SEPTA strike and consequently terrible commutes across Philadelphia, some people seem resigned and even grateful, while others report continued tensions and anger.
In a cruel twist of timing, PlanPhilly reporter Jim Saksa had his Twitter account hacked in the middle of his multi-day reporting spree on the SEPTA strike.
Inquirer reporter Michaela Winberg is at 30th Street Station, where things are roughly the same as yesterday. One passenger described it as "controlled chaos."
Stay tuned for updates.
Rush hour is approaching, and much like yesterday, some Regional Rail lines are reporting delays.
Click here for up-to-date information from SEPTA.
This won't help those of you driving or biking in lieu of SEPTA transit. But if you're waiting for a delayed train, here's a selection of light reading:
2:04 p.m.: From outside the bargaining room:
1:57 p.m.: Indego, Philadelphia's bike-share system, has seen a notable increase in use during the strike, with about 3,500 trips taken Monday. A normal weekday has been averaging 2,400 trips since this spring, the city said.
1:33 p.m.: In North Philadelphia, people faced about the same price to get to Center City – $15 to $20 –whether they opted for one of the "hack" cabbies who set up shop at Broad Street and Erie Avenue or Uber. One of the hack taxi drivers, who gave his name as James, said his longest trip since the strike started was to New Castle, Del., a $75 round-trip fare.
Some other drivers, James said, are exploiting the strike by charging $25 or $30 for a ride to Center City. He said the illegal industry was necessary so people could get to work, grocery stores and other places. "It's really hard on older people," he said of the strike
1:09 p.m.: Former Gov. Ed Rendell has weighed in on the strike, saying on 1210 WPHT's The Rich Zeoli Show that lawmakers should consider reclassifying transit workers as essential employees who can't strike. "They never have traditionally and I don't know of any jurisdiction that does consider them essential workers and therefore unable to strike," Rendell said, adding, "It's something that, probably, the legislature should consider going forward."
Rendell also predicted that the strike would reduce voter turnout if it continues through Election Day.
12:27 p.m.: Motorists are being advised to avoid Frankford Avenue near Oxford through the evening rush hour.
11:12 a.m.: One gypsy cab driver's criteria for customers:
11:01 a.m.: Union workers are manning a picket line in Upper Darby.
"All we want is a fair contract," said Frank Brinkman, an electronic specialist for 32 years on the Market-Frankford line. The workers, who are not receiving strike pay or benefits, set up fire barrels, a grill, a tent, tables and chairs. Bakeries and police have dropped by with donuts, he said. Workers have brought other food from home.
"We've been negotiating for two years," Brinkman said. The group hopes for a quick settlement. "It's a shame for the public. We don't want to do this but it's the only tool we have."
10:33 a.m.: The two sides say progress is being made in negotiations, but it's not clear whether that means the strike could be nearing an end.
10:27 a.m.: The strike is leading both drivers and cyclists to battle heavy traffic conditions.
10:20 a.m.: Business was slow Wednesday at the usually bustling GoGo Pizza at 69th Street, where employees struggled to get to work amid the strike and the typical commuter customers were gone. Employee Timo Gon drives to work, but co-workers who live in South Philadelphia and take the subway have had to shell out money for taxi rides both ways. "You spend $80 a day - that's crazy," he said. "It makes no sense."
9:59 a.m.: Scene from the strike: An empty 69th Street Transportation Center.
9:43 a.m.: A tip for those walking to work: Comfortable shoes are a must.
9:29 a.m.: Motorists say they're enduring long commutes during the SEPTA strike. The parking was cheap at Independence Auto Park on 6th Street, but Stephen Imperato, Arlene Krimmel, and Phillip Rhedrick slogged through a 90-minute drive from Northeast Philadelphia to get there.
9:15 a.m.: The scene on Interstate 95 this morning: Major back-ups.
9:05 a.m.: Reminder for drivers: Some garages in the city are offering $10 flat rates.
8:58 a.m.: Many Regional Rail trains are running late. SEPTA says riders on all lines should expect 20-minute delays.
8:54 a.m.: The Office of Emergency Management says more than 1,400 people used its shuttle service for city employees on Tuesday. The shuttles are running during peak morning and evening commute hours.
8:49 a.m.: One story of how commuters are staying flexible during the strike: Robert Thomas, a 69-year-old architect who lives in University City, rode his bike to 69th Street to catch the high speed line to Norristown, where he will bike to a conference at Montgomery County Community College.
Thomas, who normally uses his collapsible bike to get around, said traffic in the city was "very heavy" as a result of the strike. He had planned to take another Regional Rail train, but it was cancelled, so he opted to cycle to the conference. Using a bike gives him more transportation options, he said.
8:36 a.m.: What's the big issue holding up negotiations?
8:25 a.m.: In some neighborhoods, commuters' only option during the strike is their own feet.
8:01 a.m.: The Norristown High Speed Line is running, but there are few crowds today at the Norristown Transportation Center. Passengers report that trains are half-full.
7:41 a.m.: Status of contract negotiations:
7:15 a.m.: Many Regional Rail trains are running late or are bypassing stations due to overcrowding. SEPTA is posting updates on delays and express trains on its Twitter feed, @SEPTA.
7:01 a.m.: Traffic delays are already widespread around the region.
6:38 a.m.: If you're heading to Philadelphia from New Jersey and want to avoid crowds: An early start helps.
6:26 a.m.: Early indications: The Regional Rail delays and traffic jams that plagued commuters yesterday? Expect more of the same today.
6:15 a.m.: The Philadelphia School District reminds students, parents and teachers that schools are open during the strike.
6:12 a.m.: As you're preparing for your commute, here's a round-up of what's running, what's not and suggested alternatives.