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Disability advocate warns of impact Metro Vancouver transit strike could have

A TransLink trolley bus, operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company, in downtown Vancouver on a rainy November morning in 2019. (Source: Monika Gul/NEWS 1130)

A disability advocate is worried about the impact next week's transit job action could have

Many people with disabilities rely on transit to get to their jobs, volunteer commitments, or medical appointments

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –┬áThe possibility of a bus and SeaBus shutdown in Metro Vancouver next week is causing concern for people with disabilities and those who advocate for them.

Unifor is moving from a work-to-rule campaign to a three-day walkout against Coast Mountain Bus Company next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, which the union says will cause a total shutdown of the bus system.

Justina Loh, Executive Director of Disability Alliance BC, says many of her clients rely on transit to get to their jobs, volunteer commitments, or medical appointments.

“They might have to change around their schedules so that they don’t actually have to come in to work or come in to their volunteer opportunities because of the shutdown,” she says. “Maybe catch a ride with someone at least to the SkyTrain, or figure out how to get a ride to the SkyTrain.”

Transit workers have been involved in job action since Nov. 1, and while they have engaged in overtime bans that did slow down service, next week will be the first total work stoppage in the strike.

Loh says she doesn’t know if the parties involved in transit negotiations realize the impact this kind of action has on so many people.

She points out HandyDART could be an option, but notes the service has told her it has already experienced increased wait times because of the reduced bus service.