The average SEPTA worker earns 30% more than the median income in Philadelphia. These public sector jobs come with some of the cushiest benefits in the world, including healthcare, PTO, and most importantly- pension plans that are already so generous they are unsustainable.
The fact that these bus drivers, who get paid to literally sit on their asses all day can work up the gall to go on strike and effectively hold a city of lesser compensated, harder working peers hostage, is an outrage. As someone who works long hours for little pay, and is very far from the light at the end of the debt tunnel I was rewarded with for following the american dream and going to college- I have absolutely zero sympathy for those entitled wasters. If anything their wages should be docked for failure to maintain a schedule, as we see in the airlines.
Some say that transit strikes should be illegal, some would have these union leaders imprisoned. I say why bother, anyone can drive a bus. Here’s my proposal.
Fire SEPTA. The whole organization. Fire every single bus driver and hire new ones at 30% reduced wages, and with no pension. There is no reason to overcompensate these people, that money does not grow on trees, it comes out of the pockets of every city resident in the form of taxes and user fees. With that savings, lower fares down to $1.50, instate free transfers.
To close the budget gap, fire all management and replace them with a few competent people at a salary cap of $60,000. That’s double what bus drivers would be getting paid, and that sounds about fair. Retention? Who cares. These type of jobs should be a last resort, not a coveted clock-punching check-cashing lifelong-retirement nepotistic golden-egg-laying cash-cow safe-house of tenure at the expense of an impoverished city.
There are so many people who would kill for a 30k per year salaried position in this city. Why would anyone entertain the idea of increasing compensation or lessening the responsibilities of our transit workers, on whom our economy depends? We all have drivers licenses, put us to work.
When the fares go down, and the transfers are included (as they are in almost every other city in the world) usage will go up. Revenue goes up. Frequency of service can be increased. Quality of service improves. Usage goes up. Revenue goes up. A snowballing feedback loop of success will ensue and replace the decades old pattern of melting decay, declining service frequency and quality and the replacement of transit with private cars in a city that was designed for trolleys and horses.
Let’s fix Philadelphia. Let’s stop the culture of entrenched privilege. It all starts with saying “NO!” to the SEPTA Strike.