Get HandyDART buses rolling again

The Langley Times

Editorial

The strike between the Amalgamated Transit Union and MVT Canadian Bus that has idled HandyDART has more than two sides.

There are at least 4,500 points of view if you count all those poor folks who have been stranded by the month-old dispute. And you should.

We don’t hear much from these individuals who must be struggling to get around without this valuable service. The elderly, disabled people and other vulnerable folks don’t have public relations companies or labour unions to speak for them, yet we can guess that they are either managing or staying at home with no end in sight.

Victoria isn’t about to step in because the legislature is about to shut down for the holidays. Bringing in a third party would seem to be an ideal solution in the dispute over pensions, wages and shifts. But the company prefers a negotiated settlement, while the union is calling for arbitration.

Obviously, a negotiated settlement is best but, in this case, it would seem a reasonable expectation that a fresh set of eyes would bring a fresh perspective and a long-awaited end to this protracted dispute.

Where is TransLink in all this? The region’s transportation authority is staying quiet, arguing that it has no authority to intervene. But it does have some clout — and perhaps even some culpability.

It was none other than TransLink that brought in MVT to run the bus service, and it should have known it would be a slog to streamline the operations that used to be run by eight groups and workers from three unions.

The current stand-off over the pensions and the difficulties of establishing fair and equal working conditions for so many disparate groups must have been foreseen. Now those unresolved issues have come home to roost.

TransLink, it’s time to give MVT a little nudge. Some 4,500 stranded seniors and disabled people will be relieved if the buses will roll again.

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