By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa, John McDevitt and Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While negotiations between SEPTA and its largest union continue, its labor contract with Transport Workers Union Local 234 expires at midnight tonight.

The TWU represents 5,200 workers in SEPTA’s City Division, including bus, subway, and trolley operators. Its members say they do not plan to strike, but SEPTA has a contingency plan in effect nonetheless.

In the event of a strike, SEPTA says suburban service will still operate but buses, trains and trolleys in the city will not run.

“We have a contingency plan that relies a lot on Regional Rail for our passengers who usually take any of the modes in our city transit division,” explains SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams.

Earlier on Friday, neither SEPTA management nor union leaders were characterizing the state of negotiations, preferring to lay low publicly.

A SEPTA spokeswoman said they “hope to avoid a work stoppage.”

READ: SEPTA Interruption Guide
The union representing bus and trolley operators said talk about a strike was premature.

A union spokesman also added there were “hard and complicated issues,” including demands imposed by the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s health reform law.

Transport Workers Union Local 234 says it has no intentions of striking at midnight, but if there is no deal after April 6th, when all union contracts expire, they could do it then.

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