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'Christmas has actually come early': Bus driver relieved deal reached, transit strike averted

Last Updated Nov 27, 2019 at 8:31 am PDT

A transit bus enters the Stanley Park causeway after crossing over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday July 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

Despite last-minute deal to avert transit shutdown, TransLink is still warning bus riders to expect delays on Wednesday

A bus driver tells NEWS 1130 he barely got any sleep as he waited to find out if a strike would proceed

'It's back to work, back to our schedules, and back to getting the people around and living our lives,' driver says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A three-day transit strike has been averted, and while bus and SeaBus users will still be able to get around, they’re being told to give themselves some extra time.

TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company workers alike are expecting delays, after a deal was reached between the union representing workers and their employer early Wednesday morning.

“80 per cent of us have been up all night,” Jim, a bus driver on the early shift, told NEWS 1130 Wednesday morning. “I slept about 35 minutes.”

He said he was glued to social media after the sun went down on Tuesday to track the developments taking place at the bargaining table.

Jim figures most of his colleagues didn’t get any sleep at all, either, but at least they got the ending they all wanted.

“It’s back to work, back to our schedules, and back to getting the people around and living our lives,” he said. “Christmas has actually come early to a lot of us because the plans that we had to put on hold are back on, and everybody’s going to be a little bit more cheerful at work.”

TransLink is telling people to prepare for longer-than-usual wait times for buses on Wednesday. The SeaBus, Skytrain, and West Coast Express are unaffected.

Unifor members and their employer came back to the bargaining table on Tuesday, just a day ahead of what was supposed to be the start of a three-day full-scale bus and SeaBus shutdown.

Both sides expressed they were happy that a deal was reached. The details of the agreement aren’t being released until it is ratified.

Students crash in UBC buildings overnight, just in case

The threat of transit shutdown had been hanging high over the heads of post-secondary students, who are now facing the crunch of final exams and projects.

Rather than risk not being able to take a bus from home, Jason — a UBC pharmacy student — slept on a couch in a campus building.

“I was still here [at 12:30 p.m.] just studying away, but by that time the buses don’t run to Tsawwassen where I live, so I ended up spending the night here for the mandatory classes this morning,” he said.

“Exam week starts December 4th, it’s getting down to the wire.”

Grad student Kasey Mazak considered sleeping on campus overnight, too, but opted for a different backup plan: walk through the night from downtown Vancouver to UBC.

“I was going to do it you know,” Mazak said. “There was one time when the snow storm came and I had to walk from Alma to campus, so I’ve done that. It’s just a little bit more, right?”

Instead, he woke up in the middle of the night to check the news, and upon seeing a resolution was reached, went back to sleep.

Workers have been taking part in job action since the beginning of the month, with some drivers refusing to wear their uniforms and others not working overtime.

Union members had been asking for improvements to working conditions, wages, and benefits.

-With files from Vanessa Doban and Lauren Boothby