With bus drivers refusing overtime work

With bus drivers refusing overtime work

Cancellation of bus runs balloon across city

Strike or no strike, some transit riders accustomed to spotty service

As heavy rainfall covered Greater Victoria on Friday, bus riders were also hit with the worst of a transit strike.

Despite the cancellation of about 70 runs due to a ban on overtime, primarily on University of Victoria-bound routes, many riders seem to be relatively unaffected.

“They should be striking more,” remarked UVic student Justin Robertson, while on the No. 14, one of the routes which has seen the most cancellations throughout the week’s job action. “Especially with all the news about buying smaller buses. That seems pretty un-refuted.”

The smaller, community shuttle buses are at the centre of the contract dispute between B.C. Transit and Canadian Auto Workers local 333.

When the no-overtime job action began Oct. 22, B.C. Transit cancelled about 20 runs across the region. By Friday, that number had ballooned to about 70 runs.

“I don’t think that if you’re going to be at 70 runs cancelled, you’re not going to have some kind of an impact,” said Ben Williams, CAW local 333 union president. “It’s very unfortunate, but it’s directly affecting the students who we work very closely with. … It’s a very unfortunate side effect of our job action and not something we wanted it to get to.”

According to the union, 16,000 transit riders were left behind at bus stops last month, before the start of the job action.

UVic Students’ Society director of external relations Lucia Orser said the anxiety around the cancellations has had just as much impact on students as spotty service before the strike – a reality to which she says students on busier routes have grown accustomed.

“One thing we’ve been cautioning (students) about is giving themselves enough time,” Orser said. “It’s funny, at this point in the semester students are used to giving themselves that extra time, but this just exacerbates the issue.”

Tagg Kelt, Camosun College Student Society staffer said the partial strike is having an effect, though it could get worse.

Kelt works from Camosun’s Interurban campus – an area as yet unaffected by the job action, but also one where service is regarded as unsatisfactory by many, he said.

“Even before job action, they’re not meeting demand,” he said.

B.C. Transit receives about 300 customer calls on an average day. Last week, that number doubled to between 500 and 600. Yet on Friday, when more than 70 runs were cancelled, they received just three calls of complaint regarding service.

“It’s worrisome to us that people might be finding some other way of getting around,” said Meribeth Burton, spokesperson for B.C. Transit. “We hope (the job action) isn’t how it will continue (this) week.”

Williams said riders have largely shown their support for drivers and makes no promises on when the cancellations will end.

“There’s definitely a possibility the action will be increased,” he said. “I can’t say a date and time of what that may be but there’s certainly is a possibility that job action could increase beyond the overtime ban and the uniform ban.”

Up-to-date route information is available on B.C. Transit’s website at transitbc.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

-with files from Roszan Holmen

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

The West Shore Community Response Network (CRN) is urging awareness around National Fraud Prevention Month, so residents can especially help protect older and vulnerable adults against fraud. (Photo by Joshua Hoehne/Upsplash)
March dialed in as National Fraud Prevention Month

West Shore Community Response Network urges citizens to protect seniors against phone, email scams

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read