Metro Vancouver transit strike: 14 SeaBus sailings cancelled Wednesday
VANCOUVER – Commuters taking the SeaBus Wednesday morning and afternoon will face more cancellations as the transit labour dispute continues with no end in sight.
Previously, only afternoon SeaBus sailings had been cancelled. But on Tuesday, TransLink announced that Wednesday morning's sailings would be affected as well.
In an email, TransLink announced the following sailings would be cancelled in the morning of Nov. 6:
- 7:10 a.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 7:25 a.m. from Waterfront Station
- 7:40 a.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 7:55 a.m. from Waterfront Station
- 8:40 a.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 8:55 a.m. from Waterfront Station
- 9:10 a.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 9:25 a.m. from Waterfront Station
Then in the afternoon, commuters can expected the following sailings to be cancelled:
- 4:10 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 4:25 p.m. from Waterfront Station
- 6:20 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 6:35 p.m. from Waterfront Station
- 7:30 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay
- 7:45 p.m. from Waterfront Station
Those are the same afternoon sailings that were cancelled Monday and Tuesday.
The cancellations began Friday, after talks between transit operators and their employer broke down, and service has been increasingly impacted each day since.
In September, the transit authority introduced increased SeaBus service during rush hour, seeing sailings every 10 minutes. But a spokesperson said the strike has essentially ended TransLink's ability to keep up that schedule.
The union's first phase of job action involves drivers not wearing uniforms, and maintenance workers refusing to work overtime. Unifor said bus service will be affected next, and added there could be cancellations by mid to late week, possibly beginning in Port Coquitlam.
On Wednesday, however, TransLink said bus cancellations would be more difficult to predict.
"Any bus service disruptions due to the union's maintenance overtime ban will be harder to anticipate than SeaBus cancellations," a TransLink spokesperson said by email.
"If there are any service adjustments or cancellations, we will update customers through regular communication channels, including our website, transit alerts, and social media."
The possibility of bus cancellations has passengers wondering how they’ll get to and from work.
"I guess I’ll be asking some people at work about carpooling and pitching in on some gas money as well," said commuter Mary Bragg as she waited for a SeaBus at Lonsdale Quay Wednesday. "That's the only other way otherwise I'm going to be taxiing and that’s almost a half day’s work to take a taxi to and from work."
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond has urged both sides to return to bargaining.
"I'm convinced we will be able to bridge the gap, and the best way to do that is get to the table, and bargain hard on both sides," Desmond said.
Gavin McGarrigle with Unifor said the company isn't budging from its position, and had a message for Desmond.
"I think he needs to talk to the Coast Mountain Bus Company folks and make sure that they reallocate their priorities so we can get a fair deal on the table," McGarrigle said.
The union is asking for $608 million in wages, benefits, and improvements to working conditions over ten years. The most recent proposal would see maintenance trade employees given a 12 per cent raise, and operators' salaries boosted 9.6 per cent.
Desmond called the difference between the positions of the union and the company "a huge gap."
"It's a gap that was very surprising to me, certainly, and we have to find a way to close that, close that gap, and avoid the kind of disruption that’s being threatened at this point in time," Desmond said.
McGarrigle referred to management as "out of touch," and accused the company of not wanting to discuss minimum break times for drivers, which is a major issue for the union.
"We’re not going to be lectured by people making more than half a million dollars a year about what’s fair," McGarrigle said.
No talks are scheduled at this time.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione