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Saturday, 13 March 2004

Notes from The Underground

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ANOTHER LUGHEAD SEPTA CONDUCTOR
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Septa´s city transit union is likely to strike at 12:01 AM Monday, and, like others, I started working on my Plan B commute insofar the El will be affected. The R trains will not be. The strike will be an inconvenience. Despite that, I´m supporting the union. Management wants union members to cover 20 percent of their medical insurance costs. Another skirmish in the battle over health insurance costs, and another distraction from the real issue: Creation of National Health Insurance.

So, with this good faith in hand, I decided to dry-run my R7 commute today, boarding train at 2:05 PM at Suburban Station. Also in hand was my weekly TransPass, which I presented to the on-board conductor. ''How much more will be my cost to travel weekdays at a peak fare?'' I enquired. The lughead, true to form, shrugs. Yeah, I´m with the union -- on principle. But as far as Septa service is concerned, today´s lughead serves, unfortunately, again serves as the line´s service poster child.

Later, thankfully, a customer service agent at Suburban Station was able to sort it out. Since Bridesburg, my R7 stop, is within city limits, ''There is no extra charge,'' she told me, pointing to a few lines in a brochure. I took the brochure with me. I reckon I´ll need it when son-of-lughead tries to charge me some extra on Monday.

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