By Keith Laing - 06/13/14 09:20 AM EDT
Transit workers in Philadelphia are nearing a strike that could cripple service on the nation’s sixth-largest public transportation system, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Unions for employees of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have said that they could begin a strike at midnight Friday after negotiations with the agency stalled this week.
The strike would be the first transit employee walk-out in Philadelphia is more than 30 years, according to the report.
“We encourage passengers to flex their work schedules by coming to work earlier or later than their normal shifts," the transit agency said, according to the report.
The SEPTA system carries approximately 339,000 passengers per year, trailing only the New York City subway, Washington's Metrorail, Chicago’s L, Boston’s T, and San Francisco’s BART transit systems in U.S. ridership.
The system has three rapid-transit lines and 74 stations. By comparison, the Washington system has five lines and 86 stations in operation.