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Local businesses brace for impact of full bus shutdown in transit strike

Last Updated Nov 21, 2019 at 11:47 am PST


Small business owners are concerned about how much impact a full shutdown of the bus system would have

The strike may have workers across industries working remotely, showing up late, or not able to get to work at all

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Local business owners in Metro Vancouver are growing concerned ahead of next week’s bus and SeaBus system shutdown.

Coast Mountain Bus Company workers are moving to a full strike for three days next week, something Unifor, their union, says will cause a total shutdown of the bus system on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

That means three days of small business employees struggling to find a way to get to work, and three days of customers potentially opting to stay home, says Muriel Protzer of the Canadian Federation of Business.

“Less foot traffic in small businesses means less transactions that they’re seeing, which could seriously impact their revenues for the coming season. For our mom and pop stores at our local central hubs, that’s going to be really difficult for them, they’re going to see less transactions,” she says.

“We’ve got the holiday season just around the corner, people have already started shopping for those gifts, trying to find the right purchase. Small businesses rely heavily on that public transit system, not just to get customers in their door but for their own employees.”

And Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association believes some establishments won’t even open for business.

“Some people just may not be able to operate because they just don’t have the staff,” he says. “If you’re running a quick service restaurant in particular, where it’s high turnover and you’re missing a good portion of your staff, it’s pretty hard to operate.”

The strike may have workers across industries working remotely, showing up late, or not able to get to work at all.

Anita Huberman with the Surrey Board of Trade says businesses will not be operating at full capacity, and that will hurt the bottom line.

“We continue to be concerned and hope that there is an immediate conclusion to this,” she says.

The margins are already tight for many small businesses, Huberman says, and if the strike means less productivity, it could be a major blow.

“We hope that this job action concludes very soon,” she says.