Public Transit is for the People

Published: 2 minute read


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

In Philly and in cities across the Delaware Valley, we are protesting against a system designed to uphold white supremacy and destroy Black lives. SEPTA should not respond by cancelling buses for essential workers and then instead running them for police.

Here’s some what we’ve heard from SEPTA riders and workers who have been left behind as a result of abrupt service cancellations in the last week.

Early Monday morning, 3rd shift UPS workers were left waiting for buses that would never come. After briefly restoring service later that morning, SEPTA gave 13 minutes notice before suspending all Center City services again. This cancellation was so abrupt that one of SEPTA’s own workers was locked in an El station. After this worker waited to be let out of the locked station they had no option but to walk home to Kensington from center city.

This abrupt cancellation also left a hospice nurse stranded in Center City. After a long shift caring for terminally ill patients, they had no option but to walk home. They walked 40 blocks not sure what they would encounter.

This is not the first time Philly’s essential workers have been left without a way to get home: abrupt COVID-19 service cuts to Nite-Owl service left workers stranded at Broad and Oregon back in March.

The Philadelphia city budget should not include $14 million in increases for police while cutting $4.5 million from SEPTA. SEPTA should not cancel transit service because of protests for racial equality. SEPTA should respond by assuming that there will be protests every day until we have racial justice and equality. That might mean daily detours, but should not mean daily cancellations. We ask SEPTA GM Leslie Richards to release a protest detour plan outlining how SEPTA will detour service as protests arise and how they will provide service to 3rd shift workers. SEPTA should also inform the public how much is being spent to transport police.