Residents of B.C.’s Fraser Valley will finally have access to bus service again in just over a week, as a long and bitter strike finally draws to a close.
Buses will run at Sunday service levels on both Aug. 6 and Aug. 7, which is the B.C. Day holiday, with service returning to normal levels on Tuesday, Aug. 8, First Transit said.
Full HandyDART service will resume on July 31.
Fraser Valley transit will also be free for the month of August.
“Preparations to restore the full transit service to the Fraser Valley continue,” a statement from the company reads.
“First Transit staff are currently performing maintenance checks on over 100 buses to confirm all vehicles will be able to operate safely and without inconvenience for customers. We want to restore service as soon as possible, but want to ensure this is done with the safety of our operators and customers in mind.”
About 200 bus drivers and mechanics serving the region had been without a contract since April 2020, and walked off the job on March 20 when negotiations with the employer collapsed.
CUPE Local 561, which represents the workers, had argued its members were without pensions and making about one-third less than other transit operators in the Lower Mainland.
The dispute was resolved earlier this month when the union and the employer both accepted the terms of a settlement proposed by veteran mediator Vince Ready.
Union members ratified that agreement last Friday.
The six-year deal narrows the wage gap with other transit workers in the region and introduces a pension plan, set to take effect next spring, according to the union.