Fredericton transit situation unresolved

Negotiations between the city of Fredericton and it’s bus transit union have reached a stalemate.

The union of Fredericton bus drivers rejected the city’s latest offer.” An attempted-agreement between the city and the transit drivers on January 12 failed to benefit either side. A second attempt was also rejected by the transit union. The transit workers have voted in favour of a strike- meaning no buses for anyone. The strike date is yet to be determined, and buses are still currently operational.

Transit drivers in Fredericton receive 22 dollars per hour ; almost $50,000 a year on an eight hour, five days a week schedule. The transit union believes they should receive wages similar to that of Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and Saint John- all larger cities than Fredericton.

Transit buses in Fredericton will be non-operational if the strike is to occur. Photo: Chris Robinson

The city’s offer included wage increases of 1.75 per cent per year in the first three years. Wages would then rise even higher to 2.5 per cent in the last two years of the deal.

When/if the strike is to occur, it would affect many in the city. Both working people and students alike would be affected by such an action. At St. Thomas University, students mandatorily pay for a bus pass in their tuition fee; about 86.25 dollars. The transit logo is printed on the student’s I.D card, allowing them access to ride anywhere without having to pay the bus driver.

Students and staff alike depend on the bus for transportation. Jeremy Keats, third year St. Thomas student, depends on the bus for school transportation. “The idea that I’d have to walk to school every day-with the freezing cold of January and February- that’s just miserable.” said Keats.

Megan Thompson, St. Thomas Student Union president, also weighed in on the subject. “We are looking for students to be creative about the way they get to school. First and foremost, we are asking students to dress for the weather, dress appropriately, and walk maybe a little bit further than usually be willing.” said Thompson. She also stated that students will get incentives for carpooling. “We know that a lot of students have vehicles. But a lot of students who have vehicles don’t fill them on the way to school.” she said

Fredericton’s buses are still operational.  The question is; when will this come to an end?