People who depend on Codiac Transpo will see a significant reduction in the number of buses on the road beginning June 17, but the City of Moncton says the current contract dispute isn’t the reason for the cuts.

The city said the public transit service is down to just three mechanics. It needs six to run the fleet at full capacity.

The lack of mechanics means they cannot keep up with the regular maintenance rotation, which requires buses to be serviced after a specific number of kilometres are driven.

"We have a fleet of 45 buses that normally go through a maintenance schedule. We have to reduce that. We have to cut that back to putting 26 buses through a rotation," said Paul Thomson, the city's director of communications.

Thomson said the city is working on trying to keep the main routes running.

This also means employees – including drivers – will have their hours cut back.

Labour dispute

The city is in a contract fight with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1290.

Thompson said the reduction in service is not a pressure tactic but a safety issue.

The union has already voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike and could walk off the job at any time, or the city could lock the workers out.

"They've got to do what they've got to do," said union spokesperson Alan McGrath. "The city has put themselves in this position by not hiring and hopefully they don't try to tack this on to the union."

Buses cancelled Thursday evening

The city is cancelling all evening service on Thursday to update the staff. The buses will complete their routes between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

People looking for more information can call Codiac Transpo at 857-2008 or go to the company's website.

The city says it will release details of the June service reductions soon.

Codiac Transpo operates in Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview and Lakeside.