Feb 16th 2022: Yesterdays OC Bus strike was averted after last minute talks which went on for 20 hours. Details of the new contract haven’t been released and, won’t be until the drivers are able to vote on it. The news of agreement is great news for OC Bus riders including myself. A strike starting yesterday would have been a hardship for bus riders many of whom don’t have another way to get around.
A strike would have seen service stopped on the most popular bus routes which serve over 75 percent of all OC Bus riders on the 23 routes. The remaining 25 percent of riders buses are driven by contract drivers on less busy routes who wouldn’t have been affected by the strike vote.
The proposed strike was of course over money but the bigger part was over breaks for drivers. Under current rules a driver can pull the bus over to go to the restroom which i have seen many times. When a bus driver does this its usually no a big deal but occasionally a passenger will get upset and start complaining about the bus being late.
When a bus gets to the end of its route before the driver does the return route or takes a different route there is time built in to the schedule at which time the driver may be able to take a break. If a bus gets to the end of the route and, the bus has been delayed because of things not the fault of the driver such as delays because of traffic, construction or passengers that built in time gets eaten up.
The OCTA was forthcoming about the possible strike and, tried to get the word out telling its rider to explore other transportation options. The issue is many riders cannot afford to use Uber, Lyft or taxis to get around so many riders in the event of a strike wouldn’t be able to get to work or important things such as doctors appointments.
Hopefully the approximately 600 union drivers represented by Teamsters Local 952 will approve the new contract later this week which would then go before the OCTA Board next week in a special meeting. Hopefully everything will get ratified and the new contract will go in to effect and, run through April 2024.