Tens of thousands of students affected by SEPTA strike

SEPTA commuters wait for the next train at Suburban Station yesterday. Contract talks could resume as early as today.
SEPTA commuters wait for the next train at Suburban Station yesterday. Contract talks could resume as early as today.
Posted: November 04, 2009

NOTE: THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED

More than 58,000 Philadelphia students who use SEPTA to get to and from school were asleep when transit workers walked off the job in the wee hours of the morning yesterday.

Members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234 stopped operating subway, trolley and bus lines in the city at 3 a.m., bollixing up the students' morning routine. Later yesterday, district officials detailed how they would respond to the transit crisis.

"We're anticipating a number of students that will not be able to make it to schools because they won't have access to public transportation," said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

The district noted that it would not provide other modes of transportation for the 35,000 public-school students who normally take SEPTA.

More than 23,000 charter and parochial and private-school students also use public transportation.

Absences during the strike will not count against district students' attendance records, as long school administrators receive a parent's note, he said. District officials also encouraged parents to send their children to public libraries if they miss school. After-school programs and sports activities will operate as usual.

District officials have not provided information about transit alternatives in the event the strike is prolonged.

If a student can't make it to school as a result of the strike, officials say, homework and lessons will be available for pickup at schools and regional offices.

For a list of regional offices, go to the district's Web site at www.philasd.org.

Students who choose to ride bikes to schools will be able to park them in secure locations near the school, Gallard said, although students are responsible for locking them up.

Guidelines issued by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman alerted parents that school-bus service will not be disrupted for students who ride them but that pickup and drop-off may run late due to traffic congestion.

School personnel are preparing for increased foot and bike traffic, Gallard said, and district and city police will be deployed in areas where officials expect a high volume of students.

For more information, call 215-400-4636.


CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, the number of students who use SEPTA to get to and from school was changed to an incorrect figure is some editions of the Daily News. The correct number of students who use SEPTA is about 58,000.

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