With midnight Tuesday, October 31st rapidly approaching the probability of the SEPTA bus, trolley, and subway operators going on strike appears even more likely. So what does this mean for you? If you normally rely on any of the above mentioned modes of to travel around Philadelphia you will be out of luck.
So what are your alternatives? Driving? You and every other person in Philadelphia is going to try this. Whether it’s car sharing services like taxis and Uber or personal vehicles the streets are going to become a massive traffic jam during rush hour.
One of the most available options for many people is going to be a bicycle. In 2009 when SEPTA workers went on strike by the second day the number of cyclists had increased by 38%. Since that time bike lanes have expanded and Ride Indego is now a part of Philadelphia. Which means there will be even more cyclists in the event of a strike this time.
If your bike has been sitting for a while the best thing I can suggest is inflate the tires and take it for a test ride. Do your tires deflate after two or three days? Then you the inner tube has been punctured and should be repaired. Do the gears change and stay in gear or do they slip while you are pedaling? Do your brakes stop the bike without the brake levers coming too close to the handlebars. Then you should get a tune up. Which could take a few days as everyone else is going to do the same.
Riding in traffic can be a daunting experience if you are not used to it. Fortunately the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia appears to be taking some proactive actions. Currently they are recruiting volunteers to lead bike trains/buses. Just like a bus or train these are group rides that depart from a specific location and arrive at a final destination. Riding in a group makes things safer for everyone. Stay tuned to the BCGP facebook page for additional details.
If you are planning on cycling in the event of a strike please invest in some lights, whether you buy them at Walmart or your local bike shop. You should invest in rear tail light, more commonly known as a “blinkie”. This type of light makes you more visible to people driving cars who are not used to watching for cyclists. Especially with it getting dark by 5pm.
SEPTA transports 576,000 passengers a day. While no one wants a strike to occur, in the event one does please ride carefully.