Taxi deals offered to help Codiac Transpo riders

Dieppe, Moncton and Riverview are offering a taxi chit program for Codiac Transpo customers while the bus lockout continues.
Moncton announced on June 26 that it was locking out about 90 Codiac Transpo workers. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

Codiac Transpo customers can purchase discounted taxi chits to help them until the bus lockout ends.

Residents can start requesting taxi chits at their respective city or town halls on Friday morning.

Customers will need to show proof of their address and a monthly or punch pass for Codiac Transpo.

The chits will be sold in $5 increments to a maximum of $25 per customer per day until they run out.

Customers buy one taxi chit and get one free.

Officials say they'll evaluate sales as the program continues.

The slips don't have an expiry date and will still be honoured once the transit service resumes.

Marie-Claire Pierce, the senior transit planner in Moncton, said the initiative is designed to help customers who are having trouble getting around during the bus lockout.

"The options that we have outlined, including this one, are not going to soothe everyone," Pierce said.

"From what we found when this was delivered — a taxi chit program was delivered in Newfoundland when they had a strike, it was very well received by their customers. We're anxious to find out whether people are going to take advantage or not."

Moncton locked out its 90 bus drivers, service workers and mechanics on June 26.

The city and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1290 have been in a contract dispute for several months.

Prior to the lockout, the city had been cutting routes and cancelling service because it said it didn’t have the staff to cover shifts.

The two sides will appear in front of a conciliator next week in the hope of ending the work stoppage.

Wages remain a sticking point in the contract dispute. The city's last offer to the transit workers contained a 13.75 per cent wage increase over five years.

That deal would have been retroactive to July 2010 and it contained improved health and dental benefits. The city’s offer would have brought a bus driver’s annual salary to $51,000 in 2015.

By comparison, the union was asking for a 23 per cent wage increase over five years.

That would have brought a Codiac Transpo bus driver's annual salary to $55,120 in 2015, according to the city.