Moncton buses back on the road after lengthy lockout
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 6:27PM AST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2012 7:09PM AST
There was a welcome sight on the streets of Moncton today, as Codiac Transpo buses hit the road for the first time in almost six months.
The city locked out Codiac Transpo workers in June during a bitter contract dispute.
The union recently voted 91 per cent in favour of accepting the city’s latest offer, which would see salaries for drivers increase to $51,000 by 2017.
The buses are running on a partial schedule for now; only about half of the routes are operational, while the rest are expected to be on line next month.
“To have our transit workers - which are family to me - back on the job, I couldn’t be happier,” says transit user Pearl Thompson.
The return of service wasn’t without a few hiccups, however, especially with the introduction of some new routes.
“It's a little bit confusing, but I'm going to get used to it,” says transit user Sebastian LeBlanc.
In an attempt to smooth things over with disgruntled passengers who have been without public transportation for months, Codiac Transpo decided to create an incentive to return to the buses.
“It's free until the end of January and basically we're doing that to help folks that have been without service for so long,” says senior transit planner Marie-Claire Pierce.
The lockout has been hard on the buses too.
Part of the fleet still has to undergo a full safety check before being deemed ready for passengers.
“As buses get ready and roadworthy, and we know are at a safe level, we'll start putting buses on new routes,” says Pierce.
Ten of Codiac Transpo’s 19 routes are operational. The others will be added gradually, with full service being implemented by the end of January.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis
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