Fewer transit disruptions in Metro Vancouver on Tuesday, says TransLink – CBC.ca

Fewer transit disruptions in Metro Vancouver on Tuesday, says TransLink - CBC.ca
TransLink warns of over 100 bus cancellations to come today
Transit in Metro Vancouver is expected to run more smoothly on Tuesday after a 10 per cent drop in service Monday due to bus drivers refusing to work extra hours as part of the ongoing labour dispute.

As of now, TransLink doesn't anticipate there will be any bus or Seabus cancellations tomorrow, but said it will have a more accurate sense of the impacts in the morning.

The union representing bus drivers, mechanics and SeaBus operators, says bus drivers will work normally Tuesday and Thursday, but will refuse overtime hours on Wednesday and Friday of this week.

The union says thats not good enough and that transit operators pay should be looked at in comparison to Torontos transit system, while the pay of trades workers should be looked at in comparison to their counterparts in the SkyTrain system.

Monday, TransLink said service would be reduced by between five and 10 per cent, similar to disruptions seen Friday. The operator said buses couldn't run as frequently as scheduled without drivers pulling overtime meaning passengers were left waiting a little longer.

Some hard-hit routes included the busy 99 B-Line along Broadway and buses to Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, BCIT and Capilano University.

Several SeaBus cancellations in effect for Monday evening commute

The agency said Sunday that commuters travelling between the North Shore and the city's downtown core could be more likely to experience delays, but the action, by nature, can be unpredictable.

TransLink used to operate the Albion ferry, a service for vehicles and passengers, between Maple Ridge and Langley but shut it down after the Golden Ears Bridge was completed. The province continues to run a vehicle-passenger ferry between Surrey and Barnston Island. The only passenger-only service on the Fraser is the Q to Q ferry, which is operated privately on a contract basis with the city of New Westminster between the Westminster Quay in downtown New West and Queensborough, a five-minute trip.

Vancouver transit dispute drags on, clogs morning commute – BC News

"Ultimately, this job action is difficult to anticipate," TransLink spokesperson Ben Murphy told CBC's The Early Edition on Monday. "That's sort of how the union has designed this — that's why they've gone with this overtime ban."

Any feasibility study, said the report, would have to include determining which destinations would benefit from it, the availability of the technology, locations for docking and charging, the cost and environmental impact compared to other options, the suitability of connecting to the existing transit network, the ability of the service to reduce road congestion, and the employment opportunities that could be generated by it.

Another round of negotiations collapsed last week between the union and Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), which operates SeaBus and most Lower Mainland buses on behalf of TransLink.

Dozens of trips on 76 bus routes routes cancelled on Monday due to transit strike | Urbanized

The union said CMBC remains unwilling to discuss wages, a key issue in the dispute, while the company insists its proposal is well above increases offered to other public-sector workers in the province.

Unifor's overtime ban has so far forced the cancellation of dozens of SeaBus sailings and delayed or cancelled numerous bus routes since job action began at the beginning of the month.

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Talks about wages, benefits and working conditions collapsed last week, with Coast Mountain calling for a mediator and Unifor arguing the company is not serious about negotiations, so a third party wont help resolve outstanding issues.

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Coast Mountain, the contract operator for bus services, has warned up to 10 per cent of service could be impacted by the day-long overtime ban which is also slated to continue Wednesday and Friday.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – To pay or not to pay? That’s the question for a growing number of frustrated bus passengers as job action in Metro Vancouver drags on.

Some hard-hit routes include the busy line along Broadway and buses to Simon Fraser University, the University of B.C., the B.C. Institute of Technology and Capilano University.

Talks between Unifor and CMBC, which operates Metro Vancouver transit services on behalf of TransLink, reached a tipping point on Nov. 1, leading to the job action by roughly 5,000 Unifor transit drivers, SeaBus operators and mechanics.

Some riders are refusing to hand over their fares, including Corbet Rutzer, who argues it’s an effective and very direct way to get the attention of the Coast Mountain Bus Company and TransLink and protest the delayed service.

Talks between the union and Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) broke off last Thursday — on the 14th day of job action — after no agreement between the two sides could be reached.

“Writing letters and stuff, they never respond to anything, they don’t do anything,” he says. “So I thought – hit ’em in the chequebook, in the bank account, and that would get their attention.”

Unifor’s Gavin McGarrigle says the union is not encouraging passengers to skip paying or telling operators to cover fare boxes – at least not yet.

On Monday morning, dozens of bus trips along 76 different routes were cancelled due to the transit strike.

“Everything is on the table, up to and including a full work stoppage. And certainly not collecting fares is one of the options that we’ve looked at,” McGarrigle says.

"I think its actually the TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company executives that should be worried because from everything were seeing, people know exactly where the blame for this dispute lies and it lies at the feet of the overpaid, unaccountable executives." 

Hey @TransLink, I just wanted to let you know that I will be escalating my support for transit workers by refusing to pay the fare when I travel by bus for the duration of this #transitstrike.

"I think the question the union needs to answer now is where do they want this to come from? You can increase fares, increase taxes or cut service," he said. "The more this drags on, the more commuters are going to be impacted and that is just unacceptable."

“Passengers are angry at the company and they’re going to take it out whatever way they think is appropriate,” McGarrigle says. “If some people are choosing not to pay fares, that’s their business. I can understand why some passengers say, ‘Well if you’re going to save money off the backs of the workers then we’re not going to give you money.’ This is a problem that is not going away.”

TransLink is warning that bus delays are also to be expected as drivers are refusing overtime shifts Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week. Maintenance workers are also still refusing overtime, putting pressure on the availability of buses throughout the transit system. 

Transit Police warn that passengers are still expected to pay their fares, and face a fine if they don’t. That doesn’t bother Rutzer.

An advocacy group that pushes for higher speed limits in the province has released a video accusing the B.C. government of cherry-picking data to justify lower speed limits and larger fines for offences like distracted driving. 1

“This affects the regular people who take the bus as their main form of transit. It’s not fair to use those people that rely on transit as pawns in their negotiation, with no care for their situations,” he says. “If I have to wait twice as long, three times as long for a bus that’s going to be even more crowded than it is normally, what am I paying for? And what a way to get TransLink’s attention.”

Except TransLink isn’t seeing this happen and says there hasn’t been a difference in revenue.

It adds fare revenue makes up about 50 per cent of its operating budget, which goes towards addressing things like overcrowding.

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