Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus services resume, special mediator appointed

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver Bus and SeaBus service to resume Wednesday'
Metro Vancouver Bus and SeaBus service to resume Wednesday
A 48-hour work stoppage is winding down for now, and normal transit service will resume Wednesday morning. But the dispute between Coast Mountain Bus Company and its supervisors is far from settled. And as Aaron McArthur reports, there could be more pain for commuters in the days and weeks ahead – Jan 24, 2024

Bus and SeaBus services in Metro Vancouver resumed Wednesday morning after the end of a 48-hour strike by supervisors that brought Coast Mountain Bus Company routes to a standstill.

Regional transport operator TransLink said regular services had resumed by around 4 a.m. with the exception of the NightBus service, which returns Wednesday evening.

The union representing more than 180 transit supervisors said its members would be back at work by 3 a.m. and Coast Mountain said it expected services to be running normally before the morning rush hour.

While it’s back to work, there’s no resolution in sight for the contract dispute behind the shutdown that the bus company says affected 300,000 riders each day.

Talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4500 and Coast Mountain broke down on Sunday.

Story continues below advertisement

B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains issued a statement on Wednesday and said he has appointed a special mediator in the dispute.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“Not having transit service is a huge challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it. I have appointed Vince Ready as a special mediator in the ongoing collective bargaining dispute between Metro Vancouver transit supervisors represented by CUPE 4500, and the Coast Mountain Bus Company,” he said.

“Ready is a highly regarded mediator in the labour relations community, with a long and distinguished record of settling disputes. With his appointment, the parties have all the tools they need to reach an agreement, and I thank them for agreeing to work with him to end this dispute.”

According to Bains, starting on Thursday, Ready will work with the parties for a period of up to six days to secure a resolution. If a settlement cannot be reached within the timeline, he will issue non-binding recommendations on Feb. 2, 2024, with both parties having five days to either accept or reject the recommendations.

The bus company said the union is demanding a 25 per cent pay rise and says that’s unreasonable, while the union says Coast Mountain tried to bully it in the negotiations.

The strike by the transit supervisors had halted Coast Mountain services because drivers who belong to a different union refused to cross picket lines.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Day 2 of Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus service disruption causing issues on the road'
Day 2 of Metro Vancouver bus, SeaBus service disruption causing issues on the road

— With files from Canadian Press

Sponsored content