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Commuters hope for minimal disruption as transit job action looms

Last Updated Oct 31, 2019 at 3:57 pm PDT

A TransLink bus stops at Cambie and Broadway on the new red paint intended to keep cars out of bus areas. (Source: Espe Currie/NEWS 1130)

Commuters tell NEWS 1130 they're hoping not to get left out in the cold when potential transit job action begins

Drivers tell NEWS 1130 they hope progress is being made at the bargaining table

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Commuters who depend on transit services in Metro Vancouver say they’re hoping the threatened job action that could begin tomorrow is temporary.

Most bus operators who spoke with NEWS 1130 couldn’t talk on the record because negotiations are ongoing, but said they don’t want to inconvenience customers and they hope progress is being made at the bargaining table.

At the Kootenay Loop exchange near Boundary and Hastings, people waiting for the bus said their main concern is if strike action escalates.

“Part of it is weather-dependent. With nice weather, walking a little ways isn’t so bad, but when it starts to rain and get cold, then it becomes more problematic,” one transit user said.

RELATED: Overtime, uniform bans proposed if Metro Vancouver transit strike begins Friday

“We don’t want to be stranded if it’s very cold!” another quipped.

Others expressed concern for the elderly, who would be less able to get around, and others said they hoped it would not disrupt daily routines.

Earlier this month, more than 5,000 members of Unifor locals 111 and 2200, representing bus drivers, SeaBus and maintenance staff, voted 99 per cent in favour of job action against CMBC, which operates on behalf of TransLink.

Wages, benefits and working conditions are key issues in the dispute.

Union leaders have confirmed phase one of the potential job action would include a ban on overtime and drivers not wearing uniforms if a deal is not reached before 8 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Coast Mountain Bus Company President Mike McDaniel is asking the union to hold off until a tentative new contract is reached.