Tentative agreement with bus drivers signals better days for Translink riders . . . at last
Translink’s bus drivers, members of Unifor Locals 111 and 2200, will be voting Thursday on a tentative three-year agreement with Translink, the latest sign that the regional transit authority is finally into a stretch of good news.
There are signs the days of “dividing the shortages among the peasants” at Translink are coming to an end:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has flown through town to reiterate the federal commitment to contribute the region’s 10-year transit investment plan;
- Translink has achieved a new tentative agreement with its bus drivers and mechanics, all members of Unifor, a critical factor in supporting service expansion;
- Translink is finding additional revenue flowing in since the fare gates began operation; and
- Metro’s Mayors are working hard to refine a funding proposal for federal approval that they hope will include bus service expansion as early as next year.
This is all welcome news for transit riders, who have been facing crowded buses and flat service levels for too long.
Meanwhile, Translink’s bus route changes on the 49 and 26 routes in Champlain Heights are now in effect, a reminder that effective community organizing can produce positive changes.
The 49 changes, first proposed in 2014, were opposed by the community because they risked losing a direct Skytrain connection in their transit-oriented neighbourhood. It was all part of “service optimization,” Translink’s efforts to make the most of limited service when funding was not increasing.
The proposal was withdrawn, in the wake of a motion I took to city council, and the latest version is much better, although still an adjustment for riders in a community where regular bus service was part of the original plan.
The new arrangement shortens the ride for thousands of riders headed west to UBC, all of whom could take the Broadway subway once the 10-year plan is fully-funded and implemented.