"The strike shut down 13 Regional Rail lines that provide 60,000 passengers with 126,000 rides on a typical weekday," writes Paul Nussbaum. "Local transit and the Norristown High-Speed Line - which (together) carry about 85 percent of SEPTA's riders - were not affected."
The members of the two rail unions have been working for years without new contracts - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) since 2009 and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) since 2010.
SEPTA, a five-county transportation agency, informed their riders of alternative transit options. They were not willing to "ask (President) Obama to create an emergency board and order the strikers back to work," a SEPTA spokesperson said. However, Gov. Tom Corbett could make that request. "Under federal railroad law, the creation of such a board would compel the workers to return to the job for 240 days," writes Nussbaum.
The strike comes after a remarkable turnaround in SEPTA, which had been a "debt-mired subject of federal investigation", as we noted last year.
See Inquirer's strike photo gallery.