Ahead of a strike by Metrobus drivers scheduled for Oct. 5, transit users are voicing their concerns about the impact it could have on their lives.
The scheduled strike comes after 82 per cent of the members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1462 — which represents Metrobus drivers and maintenance workers — rejected the latest offer from the city's transit committee Thursday night.
On Sept. 22, union president Paul Churchill said the union has been working to achieve a full severance package for Metrobus workers, additional sick leave and a shift premium for those working after 7 p.m. The city has said the enhanced severance package served as a sticking point during negotiations, leading to the breakdown in talks between the two groups.
The city has said they are hoping to avoid a strike and is eager to return to negotiations. The last Metrobus strike occurred in November 2010 and lasted 13 weeks.
So what would a Metrobus strike mean for people in the city? The St. John's Morning Show asked people who rely on the transit system for a living.
"I'm on the methadone program, and I live all the way down on Military Road. We have to come in here seven days a week, 365 days a year. The bus pass is like gold to me, my bus pass. That bus? I can't do anything without it. So we're extremely worried.
"I'm [also] pregnant, so I'm just worried that I'm not going to be able to get my methadone and stuff. So it's really hard. And especially for people that got to go to work and stuff like that.… yeah, it's really scary. We'll have to go without it, and my baby will [have] withdrawal."
— Robyn Byrne
Byrne also lives with a genetic spinal disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. She has to see a chiropractor twice a week and has other appointments twice a month. She points to her need to travel to appointments as another key reason for needing to ride the bus.
"I [work in] home care. Basically I have to go from clients home to home, and if they do go on strike it's going to be hard for me to get home. If I got to walk, it's going to take me between 45 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half to two, roughly. So it's going to be tough. It's going to affect me, especially if my girlfriend has to work in the morning and I have no way home. It's going to be rough to get to work or to get home from work."
— Shane Hollohan
"As I am a part-time worker, if there was a bus strike on October fifth it would be very hard for me to book a taxi. And it would be very expensive, like 20 dollars I have to spend. So I think the bus strikes affect all people.
"The most trouble here [is] in terms of students, they [can] not afford the cars and the taxis. So I think the strikes will be more risky for anyone. It [would] be more easy to not have this strike."
— Nil Patel
"Ten years ago when they went on strike I was living in Kilbride and working in the east end. In effect, I basically lost my job because I couldn't get to work. It took probably about a month or two before the buses came back to actually find something, and by that point you're five months or so without work, so it takes a while to catch back up.
"I rely on the bus for absolutely everything, so I can't imagine what I'm going to do without it."
— Katy Collins