SEPTA calls on union to engage in negotiations

A bus rounds a corner in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. With a strike threat looming for Philadelphia's bus, trolley and subway workers next week, officials are asking customers in the nation's sixth-largest transit system to start figuring out alternate ways to get to work and school. The current contract covering more than 5,700 workers at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority expires at midnight on Monday, and a walkout could begin at the start of service on Nov. 1.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A bus rounds a corner in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. With a strike threat looming for Philadelphia's bus, trolley and subway workers next week, officials are asking customers in the nation's sixth-largest transit system to start figuring out alternate ways to get to work and school. The current contract covering more than 5,700 workers at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority expires at midnight on Monday, and a walkout could begin at the start of service on Nov. 1.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Philadelphia’s transit agency is calling on the union representing about 4,700 workers to engage in good-faith negotiations to bring an end to the strike.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said in a statement late Wednesday night that it’s clear the strike is “causing severe hardship” for residents.

SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. says on several occasions this week, SEPTA negotiators believed progress was being made, but Deon says the union “brought a halt to negotiations.”

Deon also is asking the union to assure residents that they will suspend the strike on Election day if no agreement is reached.

The union calls SEPTA’s statement “outrageous” and is expected to issue an official statement Wednesday night.

The strike began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, shutting down buses, trolleys and subways that provide about 900,000 rides a day.

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