Colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region have added travel options to help their students and employees get to school in the wake of a SEPTA strike that began Tuesday morning.

But one thing they aren't doing is canceling classes or events.

The city's universities, which educate tens of thousands of students and have a large employee roster, attempted to operate as close to a regular schedule as possible.

"We are not changing our schedules," said Ray Betzner, a Temple University spokesman. "We have a plan and we know how we'll get folks around to the best of our abilities."

As of mid-afternoon, Betzner said preliminary reports indicated that students and employees were getting to campus.

"We haven't seen any fall or decline in attendance," Betzner said. "We've seen some employees and students getting in a little later than anticipated."

Temple increased its shuttle service through a local consortium and offer reduced rate parking. Shuttles are operating from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 20 to 30 minute intervals.

The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University are offering bus rides to and from major transportation points in Center City during peak morning and evening travel hours. Drexel also will operate a campus bus service.

Drexel University has asked its administrators to be flexible in adjusting hours for staff who use SEPTA to get to work. They also are asking students and staff to walk, bike and car pool as alternative travel.

"All personnel should allow sufficient time for the delays they are likely to encounter," the university said.

Penn's shuttle transported 236 passengers Tuesday morning. During the five-day SEPTA strike in 2009, about 2,000 students and employees used the university's alternate transportation, said spokeswoman Amanda Mott.

One program that is especially concerned about the strike is Penn Veterans Upward Bound, which works with adult veterans pursuing their education. Almost all of the 42 veterans in the program use public transportation, Mott said, and many of them have disabilities that make it impossible for them to walk or bike a distance.

La Salle University will run shuttles between main campus and two regional rail stations, Wayne Junction and Fern Rock, said spokeswoman Jaine Lucas. The school also will pick up riders at the Wister Station with five to ten minutes of advance notice. The university plans to post a ride share board for employees who want to car pool, she said.

"We expect some will shift schedules if driving, and obviously there will be some real inconveniences for those who do - especially those on Roosevelt Blvd and the Schuylkill Expressway," she said. "The goal is to insure classes start on time with all students and faculty in attendance" with sports and other activities continuing as scheduled. "We'll continue to monitor and make necessary pivots and adjustments as needed."

One local college that won't feel the impact of a SEPTA strike is Peirce.
The college's "Peirce Fit" format already allows students to attend classes online if they can't make it to campus.

"Students affected by the SEPTA strike can stay current in all of their classes and complete all of their work simply by following the online version of the course, then come back to campus once the strike has concluded," said Peirce President Jim Mergiotti.

At Community College of Philadelphia, Faye Allard, an assistant professor of sociology, recorded online lectures for her classes.


"Yesterday I spent the first part of class letting my students discuss and decide what worked best for them in terms of accommodating their needs," she said. "They made some terrific points and really showed maturity and insight. All 5 classes decided that online lectures would work best for them as they can watch them on their phone."