As the U.S. government shutdown drags into its 28th day, several Philly institutions are coming together to help ease the burden on federal workers going without pay.
The latest of these is SEPTA, who announced Thursday night that they’re offering free rides on all of their modes of transportation—including buses, Regional Rail, and subways—to TSA workers for the duration of the shutdown. Any TSA employee who’s in uniform and able to show their ID can get a free ride, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said.
The initiative was brought about by U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, Philly.com first reported. It comes in the wake of the partial government shutdown, which started last month over a disagreement regarding funding for a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. In that time, National Parks-run sites have remained closed, and many federal workers have gone without pay.
TSA workers—many of whom have to take public transportation to get to and from the Philadelphia International Airport—are among those who are the most affected. Having to pay transportation fares on top of that is an, “additional hardship,” Busch said.
The plan to give free rides to TSA workers started Friday and will remain in effect for 30 days, or as long as the shutdown lasts—whichever comes first. If they shutdown lasts longer than 30 days, SEPTA officials will discuss whether to keep the initiative going, Busch said.
SEPTA isn’t the only agency or Philly institution doing their part to help out federal employees.
Over the past few weeks several museums in the area have announced that they’re offering discounts or free admission to federal employees, like the Philly Art Museum, which is extending that invitation to one guest of a federal employee as well.
The museum is extending free general admission to all federal employees plus one guest each for the duration of the Federal Government shutdown. Visitors may redeem this offer by presenting a Federal Government ID at any admissions desk. https://t.co/3j8FvCPnts— Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum) January 17, 2019
The Barnes, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Penn Museum, the Museum of the American Revolution, and others have similar offers, PhillyWeekly reported.
Even the Greater Philadelphia YMCA is pitching in, deferring the February membership dues for federal employees, PhillyVoice wrote.
National Parks sites including John Heinz, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall are all closed during the shutdown, but earlier this year local group Visit Philadelphia did their part by pitching in $32,000 to reopen the latter two sites for the weekend between Christmas and New Years’ Day.
- SEPTA giving free rides to TSA workers [Philly.com]
- The astonishing effects of the shutdown, in 8 charts [Vox]
- These city institutions are trying to take your mind off being shutdown [PhillyWeekly]
- As shutdown drags on, help for federal employees is growing [PhillyVoice]
- Independence Hall, Liberty Bell to briefly reopen amid government shutdown [Curbed Philly]