VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The threat of a three-day service shutdown of SkyTrain services could make getting to school a nightmare come Tuesday for post-secondary students.
With the possibility of a SkyTrain shutdown, their commute to school could be severely impacted, since exams and classes will go ahead at UBC, SFU and Langara College next week with or without the trains running.
On Saturday, the CUPE 7000 union representing about 900 SkyTrain workers announced a strike to begin Tuesday and run until Friday if no deal is reached with the BC Rapid Transit Company.
It’s a major concern for UBC professor Benjamin Cheung, who says he has an exam scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“If any of my students are living out in Coquitlam or Surrey and they don’t drive, and are potentially relying to on the SkyTrain, transit lines, I don’t know how that is going to impact how easily they can get to campus,” Cheung explains.
He says most students are hoping a deal can be reached before the deadline to prevent any job action.
Cheung adds the toll the job action might have on students isn’t healthy when preparing for an exam.
“How this impact students learning, how this impacts mental health, we (teachers) tell students it’s ideal they actually get some sleep before an exam. There will be some students that will pull all-nighters jut to prepare for exams,” he says.
In November, SFU students worried about getting to campus ahead of a system-wide bus shutdown scheduled for three days.
Previously students at SFU were asked to create a plan to commute. Some even sleeping on campus, worried they would not be able to catch a bus to the Burnaby campus.
At the end of the day, the bus and SeaBus workers averted the full-strike as a deal was reached between the union representing transit workers, Unifor, and their employer, Coast Mountain Bus Company.
In the event of a SkyTrain strike, service on the West Coast Express and Canada Line would not be impacted as workers are represented by a different union.
Although lines impacted would include the Expo Line, Millennium Line, and the Evergreen Extension.
The president of BCRTC, Michel Ladrak, released a statement outlining their plan to add alternate bus routes if the strike goes forward.
The big issues for the SkyTrain workers union, surround wages, forced overtime, and staffing levels among others.