Codiac Transpo passengers will see significant service changes once the contract dispute ends and the buses are back on the roads, say Moncton city officials.
The lockout continues, but senior managers are already working on ways to increase daily bus trips, offer better access for people with disabilities and set up internet service, said Marie-Claire Pierce, the city's senior transit planner.
They are also completely revamping their bus routes, particularly for people travelling between Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe, said Pierce.
The goal is to make travelling between the tri-communities much more efficient, she said.
"Years ago we had people basically going from Riverview to Moncton to work. But now there's likely just as many people going from Dieppe and Moncton to Riverview to work."
Plans to reduce transfer times
Denise Babineau used to take the bus from her home in Riverview to her work in Moncton every morning.
But her office recently moved to Dieppe and now it takes her more than an hour to get to work by bus, when she could drive there in 10 minutes.
"With the transfer times, sometimes it's a 20-minute wait sometimes it's a half hour-wait sometimes it's a 45-minute wait, just depending on what time you arrive," said Babineau.
If one bus travelled directly from Riverview to Dieppe, Babineau said she could get to work on time.
Pierce said it's complicated because Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe all own their own buses and manage their own routes. But officials are trying to cut back transfer wait times by better co-ordinating their schedules.
"We know that's a big issue with a lot of people," she said. "That is what we are looking to eliminate or have a very, very quick transfer."
Moncton locked out about 80 Codiac Transpo bus drivers, mechanics and service people on June 27 in an ongoing contract dispute, with wages being a key stumbling block.
The city is offering to pay drivers $52,000 a year by 2017, but the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1290 is holding out in hopes of being paid $60,000 per year by 2018.
The workers, who are currently paid about $44,000 a year, have been without a contract since 2010.