SEPTA and COVID

News

Kylie McGovern, editor 

SEPTA bus with request to wear a mask                                             Philadelphia Inquirer 

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is planning to reopen five Regional Rail Ticket Offices in Feb. 2021 following their closures on Dec. 14, 2020. Despite these COVID-19 related closures, La Salle University students and Philadelphians alike have used other SEPTA transportation to commute to campus, run errands and explore the city. To ensure employee and rider safety SEPTA has precautions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. These policies have been in place since June 4, 2020. 

SEPTA’s policy for COVID-19 is in accordance with the governor Tom Wolf’s guidelines and guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Those riding SEPTA are required to wear a mask  and social distance. Vehicles also have capacity limits to further encourage social distancing. In addition, SEPTA has an app available on Android and iOS where customers can access route information. Operators comply with the limits by not stopping for additional passengers when capacities have been reached. In addition, SEPTA has recently offered a $100 incentive to their employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Over the past months of the COVID-19 pandemic, several SEPTA employees have been exposed and infected with COVID-19. This effort to get employees vaccinated will keep SEPTA running and adequately staffed to ensure timely and frequent travel. 

Freshman Nick Radley used the subway system to travel from La Salle’s campus to Center City. When asked about his experience on the subway during the ongoing virus, Radley explained, “I didn’t see anybody not wearing masks and they had signs on every other seat encouraging people to social distance. None of the trains were overcrowded.” However, Radley also explained that he had not seen any “hard enforcement” of these rules. 

  Senior Christian Camacho has similar experiences to Radley. Camacho said, “I feel as though SEPTA  is doing the correct measures to keep students and people safe. No seats are authorized for two people to sit next to each other, each person has their own seat for their bag and themselves.” Camacho did notice that SEPTA employees seldom sanitize surfaces on the vehicles and when they do the cleaning is not thorough. However, Camacho was impressed by bus drivers only accepting a certain amount of people who are wearing masks on the bus before closing the doors. Like Radley, Camacho says he has not seen an overpacked bus. “Everyone wears their masks except for the homeless population, but even some buses have masks available for people,” Camacho observed.

     Overall, riding SEPTA has been a safe experience for La Salle students despite COVID-19. The precautions taken by SEPTA allow for students to travel comfortably throughout the area and commute to campus for class. 

mcgovernk8@lasalle.edu

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