Picketers from TWU Local 234 were chanting, passing cars were honking in support, and two men standing across the street were doing their best to pick a fight.
"You work for your rights, and that's cool, but I've got to get downtown," screamed John Tillman, who runs a moving company. "I've got three jobs today, and I can't move myself."
A woman walking the picket line, got into it with him, arguing how her health care shouldn't be cut - SEPTA wants workers to pay 20 percent of their premiums.
This argument was not moving Tillman. "I just wish you all would get back to work. You've shut the city down."
There was the possibility he could catch a ride with his buddy, Ben Council, 31, who was standing across the street, yelling, too.
Council's station wagon was needed for other chores - like ferrying two young women to Center City. Women who hadn't managed to notice that the buses and El and subways stopped rolling, stranding 400,000 people dependent on public transportation.
"Center City, $15," Council informed them. Deal.
Down the street, business at the Liberty Bell restaurant was as still as the grill.
"Yeah, this happens and I get hurt," said owner Diamandis Diamantas, 45. "Every time they go on strike, we pay."
"My father before me. He had this place since 1976."
"'74!" his older brother, Mike, corrected.
The three had time to chat in the kitchen - at high noon, when the Frankford Avenue place is typically twice as busy. So did Diamandis's wife, Gina, a waitress.
Mike's cell went off.
"You mean there's a Septa strike? No!"
"They're running in my neighborhood," said Manny Iyala, 46, washing dishes. "On my street we've got horses and buggies."
By the front of the restaurant, a counterman named Gus, watched quietly. The place smelled of cigarettes and rye toast. A customer - I didn't get her name - complained how she'd been waiting too long for a friend to stop by with a ride.
"Lotta people didn't know they were on strike 'til this morning," the woman said.
Gus nodded. "Yeah, I've see people walking up the steps like there was nothing different. Then I see them walking back down. They must not listen to the radio."
If you've missed your bus or trolley - and I'm speaking more emotionally than literally - check out Albert Yee's Flickr set of Septa shots from several months of lurking around public transportation with a camera around his neck. They're here. And they're pretty slick.