Our 4,700 or so Coast Mountain Bus Co. drivers and mechanics will hold a strike vote Thursday.
Notwithstanding the issues involved in bargaining with their employer – as TransLink’s largest contractor – there would be a certain tone-deafness if they proceed to job action, as evidenced by the 61 per cent No vote in last year’s transit funding plebiscite.
Rightly or wrongly, TransLink is an organization a swath of our populace loves to hate. Expect an angry response to radio call-in shows about the workers’ already generous pay, bus drivers’ discourteous road manners and, for some reason, semi-working fare gates.
Of course, we don’t want to see it come to a strike. It was hell when the drivers last walked off the job in 2001. But we admit to having a bit of morbid curiosity about the inevitable fallout.
Of course, it would be a day-ruining inconvenience to the people who rely on transit for work, child care, hospital visits and shopping. And it would also be a crowbar to the ribs of the local economy, stalling the movement of goods, forcing people to cancel non-mandatory outings.
But even one day without our transit network in operation would serve as a quick reminder to the happy 61 per cent that they too are big beneficiaries of a well-oiled transit machine.
And with the traffic and parking nightmare that would surely come with a strike, it might just spur people into more cycling and carpooling whenever possible – things we should be doing more of already.
Then maybe after a dose of transportation havoc, we could start a new conversation about how TransLink is “inefficient.”
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