Fredericton’s transit system avoids strike

bushotAn impending transit strike in Fredericton was called off after the transit worker union signed the final offer by the city on Friday.

The deal was confirmed on Saturday, via the city’s Twitter account.

This relieved many bus riders, especially students such as Klassina Newcomb.

“I think the bus drivers are expecting too much, I mean, yeah, they want to make as much money as the other drivers in the province. But you know what? Moncton and Saint John have more bus routes, they run longer. If they want to be paid as much as them they should maybe work as much as them,” said Newcomb.

The drivers previously made $22 an hour, $2.44 lower than in Moncton and $4 less than those in Saint John.

The offer the city tendered included a 1.75% increase in wages for the workers for three years, followed by a 2.5% for the following two years. In addition, the city expanded the benefit spending allowance of the drivers by $25 on a bi-weekly basis bringing the allowance to $200 bi-weekly.

Provincial Green Party leader David Coon said he wishes the province as a whole would do more to expand transit systems.Screenshot_2016-02-19-14-58-08

“You have this cycle, where the province won’t fund the projects because no one uses the transit systems, and no one uses the transit systems because [they’re] not funded enough” said Coon.

“Public transit is an essential service that hasn’t been see that by the provincial government. We’re one of the few governments in the country, I think the other is P.E.I. [Prince Edward Island], that doesn’t have a specific program to fund transit.”

Coon also added that the lack of intercity transit is concerning, especially given that mammograms for Fredericton residents are done in Oromocto, which is cost prohibitive to rely on a cab service to for low income women.

Newcomb is relieved the strike isn’t happening. She said having to walk from her downtown home to work or school would have proven quite difficult given the unpredictable weather in the province.

“Walking from downtown to the mall, or from downtown to campus? That wouldn’t [have been] fun.”