British Columbia

Metro Vancouver bus strike: What students and school staff need to know should drivers refuse to work

UBC, SFU and BCIT have issued notices saying that classes, labs, tutorials and exams are all going ahead as scheduled next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — but roads are expected to be much busier and parking could be an issue.

Universities warn of parking problems and busy roads on 3 days of planned job action next week

Drivers and mechanics will not report to work next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday if a labour dispute between Unifor and the Coast Mountain Bus Company isn't settled, the union has said. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Schools across Metro Vancouver are warning students to start making alternative plans and expect busy roads in and around campus next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, in the event of a full bus service shutdown due to ongoing job action by Metro Vancouver bus drivers.

The University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) have issued notices saying that classes, labs, tutorials and exams are all going ahead as scheduled.

The Vancouver School Board also said its elementary and secondary schools will be open and running normally.

Unifor, the union representing Metro Vancouver bus drivers and maintenance workers, announced Wednesday they would walk off the job if a deal over wages is not reached with Coast Mountain Bus Company.

Find out more about parking and class information here:

Limited parking options

SFU has opened additional free roadside parking on University Drive East at the Burnaby campus, but UBC, BCIT and other campuses are warning students to expect higher volumes of traffic at their parking lots on those days.

UBC said its main campus will not have enough parking space to accommodate extra vehicles. They also said no one is guaranteed a parking spot, even if they have a parking pass. 

They are encouraging students to use car share, carpool or ride bicycles to school.

UBC spokesperson Matthew Ramsey said about 80,000 people take a bus to and from the Vancouver campus every day.

"A thousand buses a day flow through UBC's transit hubs so obviously a disruption of service would be of great concern to our community," he said.

"We know that a lot of our students come from far afield and we understand that they're concerned about how they're going to get to and from this campus."

The university has posted a map of pick-up and drop-off areas on its website but Ramsey cautioned people to obey traffic directions to prevent congestion.

Students who feel they have no other transportation option are asked to contact their instructors individually if they won't be able to attend class. 

Meanwhile, an overtime ban for bus drivers remains scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 22, which could result in delays and cancellations on several routes.

    With files from the Canadian Press

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