Nova Scotia

HRM residents react to end of Metro Transit strike

There was a lot of reaction Wednesday in the Halifax Regional Municipality to news that the Metro Transit strike was over after 41 days.

There was a lot of reaction Wednesday in the Halifax Regional Municipality to news that the Metro Transit strike was over after 41 days.

Coun. David Hendsbee voted against Tuesday's deal with Metro Transit. (CBC)

Coun. David Hendsbee was one of two councillors who voted against the deal at Tuesday night's council meeting.

Hendsbee said if he had his way, the pickets would still be up until the union caved.

"We wanted rostering from day one. They knew that. We said it from the very beginning. I believe they capitulated on that with union oversight," Hendsbee said.

The deal included rostering-scheduling provisions with union input, a contentious issue from the beginning of the strike.

"I feel management still should have stuck to its guns and have absolute rostering control."

Hendsbee said he's OK with the $4,000 signing bonus, saying overall this deal was cheaper than the one the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508 turned down three weeks ago.

"The last time we had a signing offer of $1,500, they called it blood money. Now the $4,000 to sweeten the pot for them, they call it a bonus."

People living in HRM had strong reactions to the strike's end.

"You know they're paying some good money for driving the bus and there's a lot of people that would be more than happy to fill those positions. So I think they shoulda held out a little longer," Bob Renwick, an HRM resident, said.

"They're making good money anyway. They're making a lot of money," said Joyce Slater. "It's called greed."

Not everyone feels the city should have held out in the strike a bit longer.

Some Halifax seniors said they'd been hoping for the buses to come back for weeks.

"I felt trapped, like I was in jail, so I'm out — I'm free," said Sandy Brine with a laugh.

Alma Marsman says she was climbing the walls without buses in HRM to get her around. (CBC)

"I was overjoyed, because I use the bus everyday," said Mabel Hunt.

"I think it's a blessing. I'm happy and I'm thankful they came back," said Alma Marsman. "Sometimes I felt like climbing the wall."

The city is trying to bring back ridership to the buses and ferries by offering free rides until March 31. It will also offer refunds for monthly passes until March 30, or accept the February monthly passes in April.    

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