British Columbia

What you need to know for your Tuesday bus and SeaBus commute

With job action heading into day 12, six SeaBus sailings have been cancelled and bus riders are facing delays during the morning rush hour.

Numerous bus routes hit by delays Tuesday morning, 6 SeaBus sailings cancelled later today

Buses lined up at the Vancouver Transit Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, November 7, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The union representing roughly 5,000 transit workers in Metro Vancouver says it is ready to discuss its next steps in job action that is now in its 12th day.

Unifor lead negotiator Gavin McGarrigle and other Unifor representatives said they will hold a news conference Tuesday morning in New Westminster, B.C.

Talks between the union and Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) broke off nearly two weeks ago. The company handles Lower Mainland bus and SeaBus routes on behalf of TransLink.

Wages, benefits and working conditions are key issues.

A number of bus routes were reporting delays Tuesday morning during rush hour. 

A ban on overtime by maintenance workers slowed or cancelled runs on about two dozen bus routes last week, and there have been frequent cancellations on the SeaBus link between Vancouver and the North Shore, including six planned cancellations this afternoon.

The sailing cancellations for Tuesday are as follows:

  • The 4:10 p.m., 7:32 p.m. and 8:47 p.m. departing from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.
  • The 4:25 p.m., 7:46 p.m. and 9:01 p.m. departing from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver.

Unifor implemented an overtime ban for maintenance staff on Nov. 1. It means buses in need of repair are out of service longer, leaving the company with a shortage of operational vehicles.

The union has said the next escalation in the dispute would likely be a overtime ban for bus drivers as well. The union is required to give CMBC 24-hour notice if it wishes to take that step and that notice has not been issued.

TransLink has announced that six SeaBus sailings have been cancelled Tuesday afternoon and evening. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Speaking on behalf of CMBC, Michael McDaniel said six per cent of the company's bus operation hours are covered by drivers working overtime.

SkyTrain, West Coast Express, HandyDART, West Vancouver Blue Bus and other contracted services have not been affected by the job action.

Contract talks between Unifor and CMBC broke off on Oct. 31. McDaniel said the company has come up with a new proposal around scheduling break times for transit operators, but so far the union has not agreed to resume negotiations. 

"We've been working on how we might handle [breaks] differently and we've come up with some new proposals which we think are actually quite exciting," he said. 

"There's definitely one truth out there and it's that you cannot get a deal done if you're not sitting at the bargaining table." 

With files from the Canadian Press

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