The Regional Municipality of York takes action to restore transit service to riders

YRT/Viva focuses on service to customers as it puts additional buses into service

NEWMARKET, ON, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Regional Municipality of York is taking action to restore transit service to residents as ATU Local 113 and ATU Local 1587 and York Region's contracted operators - York BRT Services, Miller Transit and First Canada - have failed to make reasonable progress towards ending the ongoing labour dispute.

Negotiations are non-existent between the unions and contractors, with no movement on the horizon following last week's rejection of Miller Transit's offer in a supervised vote by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. This has left York Region with no choice but to take steps to assist our transit riders.

"The result of the vote on Miller Transit's offer is a clear indication that the unions are not interested in returning to work," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. "Regional Council's position remains the same - we will not intervene in negotiations, and will not request the Provincial Government to enact back-to-work legislation or support arbitration as a means to end the YRT/Viva strike. But we will not stand by and watch our riders continue to suffer due to the lack of regard the parties involved have for our transit-dependent residents."

York Region does not have the contractual right to direct the contractors to submit to arbitration. To provide as much service in the current strike as lawfully possible, York Region will:

  • Begin using 60-foot Viva articulated buses along Route 99, serving Yonge Street between Bernard Terminal and the Finch GO Bus Terminal, effective Friday, January 13, replacing the majority of the existing 40-foot YRT buses currently in operation along this popular route

  • Direct YRT/Viva contracted operators to explore every means possible to restore and maximize service to residents

  • Further examine the terms and conditions of our contracts with York BRT Services, Miller Transit and First Canada, with a specific focus on additional remedies to improve transit service

"The unions and contractors have had ample time to negotiate a fair agreement," said Chairman Fisch. "We are taking measures to restore as much service as possible, placing our riders at the forefront by putting larger buses in service, getting our commuters out of the cold and where they need to go."

Despite only 40 per cent of the Region's transit service in operation, recent ridership figures show that 62 per cent of riders are taking advantage of the existing YRT/Viva service during the strike.

The Region has spent the last 81 days of the strike looking at long-term, sustainable efficiencies in our transit system that can be implemented upon the resumption of full service, with savings from the efficiencies returned to all York Region taxpayers.

Up to 10 Viva buses will stop at all Route 99 stops, but will not function as typical Viva buses as front-door boarding and on-board payment will be required. Putting larger buses in operation on Route 99 will help alleviate congestion on the 40-foot YRT buses that travel along Yonge Street and will provide relief to passengers otherwise waiting in harsh winter conditions.

YRT/Viva continues to assist transit riders with travel options through the Customer Service Centre at 1-866-MOVE-YRT (668-3978). Ongoing updates are available on www.yrt.ca  and www.york.ca Residents can also follow York Region on Twitter @YorkRegionGovt and Facebook www.facebook.com/YorkRegion

Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

SOURCE Regional Municipality of York

For further information:

Media Contact   Kim MacGillivray, Corporate Communications, York Region
    1-877-464-9675, ext. 1209 • Cell: 905-251-6412 • kim.macgillivray@york.ca

 

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