West Vancouver Blue Bus drivers on full-scale strike beginning Monday

Oct 24 2016, 3:32 am

There will be no public transit bus service in West Vancouver beginning Monday, October 24 as negotiations between the municipal government and the union failed to break an impasse.

Transit service within West Vancouver and from West Vancouver to downtown Vancouver and UBC, across the Lions Gate Bridge, was disrupted throughout last week when Amalgamated Transit Union 134 stepped up its job action.

Overtime for both drivers and mechanics was banned, which meant buses on some routes were either delayed or entirely cancelled. And now, job action has escalated even further into a full-scale strike and it will mean BC Ferries’ Horseshoe Bay terminal will be completely cut off from public transit.

“We understand that a transit strike is extremely inconvenient for many people,” said District of West Vancouver communications director Jeff McDonald in a statement. “By proceeding with this unnecessary strike, the transit union will be causing hardship for those who depend on Blue Bus, especially students and seniors.”

Approximately 18,000 people use Blue Bus services, owned and funded by West Vancouver, on a daily basis. TransLink was not involved in the negotiations with the union, however, the buses are a part of the regional transit system and operated by TransLink under contract.

The following Blue Bus routes will not be operational beginning tomorrow until further notice:

  • 250 Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay/Dundarave (250A)
  • 251 Park Royal/Queens
  • 252 Park Royal/Inglewood
  • 253 Vancouver/Park Royal/Caulfeild
  • 254 Vancouver/Park Royal/British Properties
  • 255 Capilano University/Lynn Valley Centre/Dundarave
  • 256 Park Royal/Whitby Estates/Spuraway
  • 257 Vancouver Express/Horseshoe Bay Express
  • 258 West Vancouver/UBC
  • 259 Horseshoe Bay/Lions Bay
  • C12 Lions Bay/Caulfeild

The municipal government says it provided the union with benefits comparable to the contract accepted by Coast Mountain Bus Company, the TransLink subsidiary that operates the rest of the region’s bus services, this spring and a strike was averted.

Blue Bus drivers have been without a contract since March and its members unanimously voted to strike before Labour Day.

There could be extra vehicle volumes on the Lions Gate Bridge and more passengers on bus and SeaBus ferry routes between North Vancouver and Vancouver as a result of the strike.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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