FILE – TransLink bus in Maple Ridge.

Buses cancelled on busy routes in Metro Vancouver as transit strike enters Day 8

Friday morning saw cancellations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Richmond

Transit job action impacted 25 bus routes Friday morning, with TransLink reporting at least 40 cancelled trips in Metro Vancouver.

Nearly all of the trips cancelled so far have been mostly Vancouver-based, including the Robson-Downtown, Nanaimo Station-Dunbar and Boundary-UBC routes which run every 10 to 15 minutes.

Routes to Simon Fraser University, Coquitlam-Port Moody and Richmond are also being impacted.

Sixteen SeaBus trips have also been cancelled for a third day in a row.

The cancellations come as Coast Mountain Bus Company drivers and maintenance staff enter Day 8 of job action, following a break-down of contract negotiations with their employer last week. Drivers have refused to wear their uniforms and maintenance workers have refused overtime since last Friday.

On Thursday there was a “reduction in frequency” along 11 routes, impacting 41 bus runs.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews told Black Press Media that the transportation service is prioritizing bus routes that run less frequently when a bus breaks down. This means that if a bus is taken out of service along a less-frequent route, TransLink will pull a bus from a more frequent running route so riders aren’t stuck waiting an hour for the next bus.

TransLink is recommending riders to subscribe to its alerts ahead of further disruptions.

Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel said in a statement that the union has refused to return to the bargaining table and have refused using a third-party mediator to continue contract negotiations.

The union wants to see a greater increase in wages than what has been offered by the company, as well as better recovery time in between trips for its drivers.

Premier John Horgan warned both sides Thursday that a long dispute like the last strike in 2001 won’t be tolerated.

“I’ll remind you that the last time the Official Opposition was in government there was a four-month transit strike in Vancouver and I can assure you that won’t happen on my watch,” Horgan said while attending an event in Courtenay.

The comments came just a day after Horgan said collective bargaining should be allowed to run its course and his government had no immediate plans to intervene.

Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel said in a statement that the union has refused to return to the bargaining table and have refused using a third-party mediator to continue contract negotiations.

The union wants to see a greater increase in wages than what has been offered by the company, as well as better recovery time in between trips for its drivers.

– with a file from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
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