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NEWS
October 26, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, and other transit workers will vote Sunday afternoon on authorizing a strike this year or early next year. No strike appears imminent, said officials for the union and the transit authority. Transport Workers Union Local 234 is the largest of SEPTA's 17 unions, representing about 5,000 drivers, operators, mechanics, cashiers, and other workers. They have been working without a contract since the previous five-year pacts expired in March and April, and union president Willie Brown has said a strike is all but certain.
NEWS
October 25, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA's long-delayed, $130-million smart-card payment system will be called SEPTA Key, the agency announced Thursday. Like Ben Franklin's key. Get it? But unlike Franklin's kite experiment, no lightning speed is involved with SEPTA's move away from tokens, passes and tickets. The first new subway turnstiles are in place, but widespread use of the card on subways and buses won't happen till next year, and on Regional Rail, not until 2016 at least. The new system will allow riders to use any "contactless" credit card or a SEPTA-issued card or even a smartphone to pay their fares at card-reading turnstiles or bus fare boxes.
NEWS
October 15, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Negotiators for SEPTA and Regional Rail locomotive engineers reached a tentative agreement, which will avert a possible commuter rail strike if the pact is accepted by the engineers and the SEPTA board. The deal provides for SEPTA's 220 engineers to get an 8.5 percent wage increase when the contract is approved and a 3 percent raise next April. The engineers, who have not received a raise since their last contract ended in 2010, also will get a $1,250 "signing bonus" and a 35-cent-an-hour increase immediately to reflect a traditional differential above conductors' pay. All together, the engineers' increases will amount to 13.3 percent above current pay by April, the union said.
NEWS
October 15, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
AFTER negotiating for five years, SEPTA has settled with one of its Regional Rail unions. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen reached a "tentative agreement" with the transit authority yesterday afternoon, according to a statement from union leaders. The parties approved a contract that, once ratified by the union's 200 members and by SEPTA's board of directors, would cover the union through July. "This agreement keeps the trains rolling in Philadelphia," union vice president Steve Bruno said in announcing the agreement.
NEWS
October 13, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
FOR THE SECOND time in four months, President Obama has spared Regional Rail riders a big headache. Obama, at the request of SEPTA, yesterday called for the formation of a presidential emergency board that will help mediate an ongoing dispute between the transit authority and one of its labor unions, according to a statement from the White House. More importantly, the creation of the board will prevent the union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, from striking, effectively shutting down Regional Rail lines.
BUSINESS
October 10, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA is shuffling equipment and workers to try to deal with chronic crowding problems on Regional Rail trains, as ridership rises and old cars and locomotives break down more frequently. Even the 120 new Silverliner V cars that have arrived since 2010 to replace 73 old cars have not solved the overcrowding issue. About 15 percent of SEPTA's rail cars are out of service on any given day, while passenger counts are up 4 percent from last year and 50 percent from 15 years ago. "The trains are so full that it's even hard to find room to stand," said Katrina Claghorn, a dietitian who commutes daily from Wayne to 30th Street Station.
NEWS
October 8, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
SHAMIRA Hawkins-Worthey was supposed to be helping children and parents by providing them with public transportation tokens to get to court hearings, medical appointments and other destinations related to the Department of Human Services. Instead, Hawkins-Worthey, 30, a DHS social worker services manager, helped herself by stealing more than $24,000 in tokens and fraudulent overtime payments, officials said yesterday. "I have no words for the actions of this person," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.
BUSINESS
October 5, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
There won't be a SEPTA rail strike on Oct. 13. But there might be one on Feb. 10. And that could coincide with a possible strike by bus, subway, and trolley workers, shutting down the entire SEPTA system. SEPTA officials said Friday that they will ask for a second 120-day presidential emergency board to mediate the Regional Rail labor dispute when the current board's term expires at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 13, if no settlement is reached by then. Under the federal Railway Labor Act, that would compel locomotive engineers and SEPTA to continue to operate as normal until the end of the 120 days, on Feb. 10. SEPTA's 220 locomotive engineers and 215 railroad electrical workers went on a one-day strike on June 14, before President Obama appointed the first presidential board at Gov. Corbett's request.
NEWS
October 3, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered Commonwealth Court to reconsider a decision that denied the authority of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations over SEPTA. SEPTA had argued that it was a state agency and therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the commission or the provisions of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance. The court battle grew out of seven discrimination complaints filed against SEPTA by customers and employees between 2007 and 2009. Previously, SEPTA complied with rulings by the commission, its executive director, Rue Landau, said Wednesday.
NEWS
October 3, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
WITH FOUR PEOPLE hit, two fatally by SEPTA trains in as many days, SEPTA has a simple message: Stay the hell away from train tracks. "No one should ever assume that there is a time when tracks are completely clear of train traffic. A train can come on any track at any time," Scott Sauer, SEPTA's chief officer of system safety, said in a release yesterday. As of yesterday, 13 people have been fatally struck by SEPTA trains and trolleys so far this year, according to data from the transit authority.
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