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Union fires shot across bow of B.C. Transit over Victoria cruise shuttle issue

Canadian Auto Workers blame Monday route cancellations, others, on removal of six buses

The war of words continues between B.C. Transit's driver's union and the company.

On Thursday, Canadian Auto Workers Local 333 issued a statement blaming B.C. Transit's leasing of six buses for shuttling cruise ship passengers between Ogden Point and downtown Victoria for what the union calls "repeated route cancellations."

The flash point appeared to be the cancellation of five trips on Monday, which union local president Ben Williams said was caused by a shortage of buses.

“Those six buses are doing absolutely nothing while our bus riders are being inconvenienced, passed-up and overcrowded," Williams said in a release.

The union continues to take issue with the company's leasing of six buses to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, which contracted Wilson Transportation to supply drivers by to run the shuttle service. Local 333 is in the midst of filing a grievance against B.C. Transit, stating that its leasing of buses for use by a private company violates the collective agreement between B.C. Transit and the driver's union.

Transit spokesperson Meribeth Burton said in an email to the News that B.C. Transit "does not have vehicle shortages at this time."

"The five trips that were cancelled this past Monday were due to unforeseen, but common operational issues," she wrote. "In the two weeks since the six buses were delivered to the GVHA, BC Transit has delivered 99.99 per cent of posted service."