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Buses cancelled as Winnipeg Transit workers refuse overtime

WINNIPEG – Some regularly scheduled buses were cancelled Tuesday morning as Winnipeg Transit employees continue to refuse overtime as a bargaining tool.

Winnipeg Transit warned last week that it expected disruptions starting Tuesday. The city bus service said it would attempt to limit cancellations and delays to routes with frequent or alternative service. Routes most likely to be affected are:

  • Morning rush hour: 18, 22, 25, 30, 31, 34, 40, 41, 44, 46, 57, 58, 59, 68, 162, 163, 181, 183
  • Afternoon rush hour: 11, 16, 18, 25, 29, 38, 41, 48, 54, 58, 162, 163, 183

READ MORE: Winnipeg Transit faces possible delays

The Winnipeg Transit online schedule on Tuesday morning showed cancellations on all of the morning routes listed above except the 40 and 41. Most routes also had some buses running that weren’t accessible for people with disabilities. The afternoon rush-hour schedules at 8:30 a.m. were showing cancellations on routes 16, 18, 29, 38, 41, 54, 162 and 163.

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Winnipeg Transit cancellations

Amalgamated Transit Union president John Callahan said even if there were enough drivers for all the buses, there aren’t enough buses in operating condition to keep all routes running as scheduled. Mechanics are among those refusing overtime and without their overtime, Winnipeg Transit can’t keep enough of its fleet on the road, he explained.

WATCH: President of Winnipeg Transit Union talks voluntary overtime ban

The Amalgamated Transit Union asked workers to start refusing voluntary overtime on April 27. The union and the city resumed negotiations 9 a.m. Tuesday. However, union president John Callahan said even if they reach an agreement quickly, it could be months before service is back to normal because of the need to hire and train new mechanics to deal with the backlog.

Winnipeg Transit carries more than 130,000 riders each week day, the city said in a news release last week. It employs about 1,100 bus drivers and 250 maintenance staff.

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READ MORE: More buses cancelled as labour talks continue at Winnipeg Transit

Riders can check Winnipeg Transit’s website or call 311 or Telebus for service information. Handi-Transit services aren’t affected by the union action.