Douglas Discusses: Who is affected by TransLink strike?
By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
On October 28, TransLink announced that their workers are going to strike for better wages and working conditions, effective November 1. With the strike in full swing of its first phase with some bus and SeaBus cancellations underway, the Other Press asked the students at Douglas College if they had yet been affected by the strike and these ride cancellations.
With both Douglas campuses being within walking distance of SkyTrain stations, it didn’t seem that many people were negatively affected by the strike. One associate of science student, Abhishek, mentioned he didn’t even really notice the strike was happening.
“I can see only TransLink strikes on the internet, but in real life it’s not like […] that big a deal,” he said.
Another science student, Akul, has seen some bus cancellations, but nothing that affects him majorly. “No problems,” he said. “Some buses are cancelled, like I take the 144 [to SFU], sometimes that cancels. Like one bus in three hours.”
According to Douglas College Quick Facts for the 2017-2018 year, the majority of students come from Surrey (29 percent), Coquitlam (16 percent), Burnaby (13 percent), or the Vancouver and New West area (both 10 percent). The college is easily accessible by SkyTrain from these locations, so it didn’t seem that many students would be concerned with the bus strikes. However, people outside of these areas may see some bus cancellations in the near future as the strike escalates.
Noah, a music major at the college, says he hasn’t seen any effect of the strike but thinks it’s only a matter of time. “Not yet. I think I will soon because I bus and SkyTrain here from Fleetwood everyday,” he said. “I have the alert thing on my phone and I’m seeing more buses being cancelled due to mechanical issues, so I see it, but I haven’t actually been affected by it…yet.”
Some other students have not been affected by the strike yet, even if they do take the bus to school, but have noticed the drivers not wearing uniforms. “All my buses have been coming on time and everything,” says Saffron, a math major at the college.
For now, it seems people who bus to the college are safe from the impact of the TransLink strike. Since both campuses are accessible by SkyTrain, Douglas students will be happy that they’re not at SFU or UBC this term which are urging students and faculty to car-pool, cycle, or car-share to school.
According to The Canadian Press, the union has said that the overtime ban could be extended to drivers and could affect up to 15 percent of the bus service in the region.