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In Philadelphia, Thousands of Transit Workers Strike

October 31, 2005|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Thousands of city transit workers went on strike today just after midnight, leaving nearly half a million commuters in need of alternate transportation.

Buses, trolleys and subways operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will be idle. Commuter rails are expected to remain in service because their employees have a different union contract.

City preparations for the strike include setting up extra bicycle racks and allowing more parking. City schools, which don't provide bus service for high school students, plan to remain open but might reconsider if the strike is prolonged.

The last Philadelphia transit strike, in 1998, lasted 40 days.

Although negotiations went on most of the weekend, they broke off about midnight. Wages, work rules and healthcare have been the main issues in dispute.

No new talks were scheduled between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 234, which represents about 5,000 employees, union spokesman Bob Bedard said.

The shutdown of the mass transit system poses a major mobility issue in a city where one in three households has no car.

On a typical weekday, 920,000 trips are taken on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority lines shut down by the strike.

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