Medically disqualified transit workers get a free ride on taxpayers.
In order to be reimbursed for travel expenses, Cattell has to get a receipt from SEPTA each time she takes public transportation in the city. But she estimates that she and her colleagues have been able to get receipts from bus drivers and subway cashiers only 33 percent of the time. In other words, she hasn’t been reimbursed for the majority of her trips with SEPTA.
“I pay $8 to get here every day,” she says. “I don’t want to be paying more than I have to.”
Burnfield would tell her to consider buying a weekly or monthly transpass because she would receive a discount and it would be easier to get a receipt. That being the case, Cattell questions the sense of having cashiers in the subway system.
“I don’t know what their exact purpose is,” she says. “Sometimes it’s good because I can get receipts, but they don’t really do anything.”
SEPTA and TWU 234 should consider this a call to action. It’s not that Cattell or other critics are insensitive to those with disabilities. What they want is for SEPTA cashiers to be held accountable for their job performance like the vast majority of the city’s workforce.
“It makes people who work hard feel bad,” she says.
After a brief pause, she adds: “Jersey Transit is a lot better anyway.”
Now that’s got to hurt. ■
A look at SEPTA's never-ending delays in plan funding and contracts and how it spends what little money it has, gives us no indication that a shift into modernity is coming any time soon. And though the authority’s decisions are often clouded in secrecy, it’s probably a lot further away than SEPTA cares to admit.