By Al Novack
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Riders who rely on the regional rails for their commute were breathing a sigh of relief Sunday after federal intervention forced the end of a short-lived SEPTA strike.
The strike began Saturday at midnight and ended early Sunday morning.
President Barrack Obama signed an executive order late Saturday night appointing an emergency board to mediate the labor dispute and ordering the union back to work. Had the president not intervened, all 13 regional rail lines would’ve remained at a halt.
“I think it’s terrific, I mean people rely on the trains” said Emma, who was headed to see her dad for Father’s Day. “It reduces congestion on the roadways and gets people where they need to go.”
Ben relies on the train to get to and from Delaware County. He doesn’t own a car, but he knows what kind of impact a strike would’ve had on area roadways.
“The traffic would’ve been horrendous,” he said.
John Tinsley commutes to the Claymont, Delaware area on SEPTA’s Wilmington-Newark regional rail line every Sunday to get to a part-time job in New Castle County. He was more than happy to learn the strike had ended.
“Hey man, wonderful,” Tinsley said. “When you think about it, all of us have to get somewhere, sometime and at that time. And when the train isn’t running it’s not going to happen.”
For some, a prolonged strike would’ve meant an added expense.
“We might have had to buy a second car, said Laura, a nurse who commutes to Montgomery County. “We just have one car between my husband and I — and we both walk to the train from our house.”
Early morning ridership was down, but SEPTA attributed that to the weekend schedule and many commuters not being aware that the strike had ended.
More than 400 engineers and electrical workers have had a long-running labor dispute with SEPTA. SEPTA officials and union workers are now forced to go back to the bargaining table.
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