BC Transit services in Whistler, Squamish restart this week with free rides

Transit bus services operated by BC Transit along the Sea to Sky corridor will resume this Wednesday, June 22, after an unprecedented disruption to service for nearly five months due to industrial action.

Bus routes in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton will resume at the start of the day, with free rides in effect for the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the District of Squamish for a week – at least until July 3 – to accommodate passengers on board, show your appreciation to passengers and give them time to purchase passes.

Pemberton will also offer free public transit, but its municipal government is still confirming the end date.

The transit authority noted that municipal governments may also offer other individual fare promotions to be announced soon.

Industrial action by bus drivers and maintenance workers on BC Transit services along the Sea to Sky Corridor ended on June 14, when union members voted in favor of the contract negotiated with the employer. The five-year collective agreement, retroactive to April 2022, provides for a 15.5% wage increase over the life of the contract, and members have also won concessions on their pensions and obtained benefits coverage for workers at work. part-timers, who were previously excluded from benefits.

But because the strike lasted 136 consecutive days, making it the longest transit strike in BC history, BC Transit was unable to restart services immediately following the affirmative vote. on the contract.

The transit authority says that after being away from bus steering wheels for months, bus drivers need to refresh their training to ensure a safe return to service. This process includes familiarization with operational processes, tasks and equipment, which is “standard procedure when returning to duty after a period of absence from daily duty”.

Melvin Z. Madore