Nova Scotia

Saint Mary's student quits because of bus strike

A Saint Mary's University student said he quit Monday because of the ongoing Metro Transit strike.

Many other residents as well as businesses feel affect of the strike

A Saint Mary's University student said he quit Monday because of the ongoing Metro Transit strike.

Chase Sabourin, a second year criminology student, said he withdrew from classes because he has to take the bus  from Beechville to downtown Halifax. He said he had been thinking about withdrawing from his courses for the last two weeks.

"Well, I was already missing assignments and quizzes and stuff due to the strike. The strike could be over this week, it could be another month down the road. I'm not going to wait around hoping it's going to end tomorrow and just waiting for my marks to go down if I'm not able to make it to school," he said.

Sabourin said the decision was ultimately a financial one.

"I have no way to get there. There's the option of car pools and rides with friends, but it doesn't fit my schedule, so the only other option is to take a cab to and from school, to and from work and that's financially out of the question," he said.

Sabourin said he plans to return to Saint Mary's in September.

He's not the only university student feeling the effects of the strike.

Sarah Cadell said the transit strike is making it hard for her to get to class at Dalhousie University. (CBC)

Sarah Cadell, a second year history major at Dalhousie University, relies on the bus to get to classes from her home in Clayton Park.

"The transit strike means it's really difficult to get to school and work every day. Instead of taking the bus, I either have to car pool or get my mom to drive me something like that. It's really difficult," Cadell said.

She's also one of 39,000 students in the Halifax region who are required to purchase a U pass when they enroll in college or university.

The pass costs $134 per year, and allows unlimited Metro Transit use from September to the end of April. But bus passes are of no use to anyone right now.

"It is a pain because you put all this money in your education and the bus pass, as well, and now you can't use either," Cadell said. "It kind of sucks."

Students aren't alone — 13,000 metro residents have also bought monthly transit passes.

HRM said people who bought bus passes will be compensated one way or another

But, the reimbursement will only be determined after the strike is over. It might also take the form of a credit towards the next month of a pass, HRM spokeswoman Tiffany Chase said.

HRM spokeswoman Tiffany Chase said people with monthly transit passes will be reiumbursed when the strike is over. (CBC)

"Anyone that has purchased a monthly MetroPass or MetroLink pass, we will be communicating to them how any portions of the pass will be reimbursed to them or the credit continued into the next month," she said.

"But we can't communicate that until we know how long the strike is going to last. So that will be communicated at the end of the strike."

The strike is also affecting businesses whose employees can't get to work, or organizations that need depend on the bus service.

Canadian Blood Services relies on donations and many people take the bus to get there.

Peter MacDonald, director of donor and clinic services, Atlantic, said they're expecting a ripple effect.

"A couple of years ago there was a labour disruption with transit in Ottawa and we managed a national inventory in the blood system and they definitely saw impacts in donor attendance," MacDonald said.

"It's more difficult for people to get around and get to clinics and we're expecting the same thing here in Halifax the longer the transit strike goes on."