Transit job action expected to hit evening commute

Bus riders should monitor TransLink alerts to see if their route is affected by the current overtime ban

Tri-City bus commuters should be paying close attention to TransLink alerts today because of a number of cancellations for the Monday rush hour due to the overtime ban by Metro Vancouver transit drivers.

For example, the 183 Moody Centre Station trip leaving Coquitlam Central Station at Bay 5 at 3:40 p.m. is cancelled today, as is the 183 Coquitlam Central Station trip leaving Moody Centre Station at Bay 3 at 4:32 p.m. 

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As well, there are a number of afternoon and evening cancellations for the 160 Kootenay Loop trip leaving Kootenay Loop and Port Coquitlam Station.

Visit https://alerts.translink.ca/ for more information.

TransLink, the area's transit operator, lists hundreds of service alerts on dozens of routes across the Lower Mainland as Unifor bus drivers, SeaBus operators and mechanics enter Day 18 of a labour dispute with Coast Mountain Bus Company.

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.

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 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 won't help resolve outstanding issues.

The dispute between Coast Mountain Bus Company and Unifor, the union representing 5,000 transit workers, has made little progress since limited strike action began Nov. 1. The union wants an extra $608 million in wages, benefits and improvements to working conditions over 10 years, with recovery time — breaks — between routes among the union’s top issues.

According to TransLink the latest escalation will likely affect commuters with delays and overcrowding. Commuters are urged to sign up for the latest service information via alerts.translink.ca

The travelling public can also ask questions and find out about the latest transit service at www.Twitter.com/translink

Meanwhile the new Facebook group Port Moody — I need ride is getting some traction. Started by former Mayor Mike Clay, some members of the group are offering rides for those who might finding transit a challenge if job action escalates. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/PortMoodyRides/

With files from Canadian Press.

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