February 9, 2011
Media Release

Potential labour strike would create YRT/Viva service disruptions

ATU Local 113 members are in a legal position to strike as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, February 14
BACKGROUNDER

NEWMARKET- The Regional Municipality of York advises residents that Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 members are in a legal position to strike against Veolia Transportation Services Canada.

ATU Local 113 members will invoke the right to strike as of 12:01 a.m. on February 14 if a new contract agreement for York Region Transit’s (YRT) Southwest Division is not reached. 

Although negotiations between ATU Local 113 - the same Local that represents the TTC - and Veolia Transportation have been ongoing, the next meeting between the two parties is not scheduled until Sunday, February 13.  This scenario provides little advance notice to passengers, residents and YRT officials should a strike in YRT’s Southwest Division be confirmed.

YRT contracts all of its operation of public transit services to the private sector and the TTC.  As a result, York Region does not directly employ bus operators. Veolia Transportation is one of four private contractors that provide conventional and rapid transit operations and maintenance contracts for York Region Transit (YRT)/Viva.

York Region’s contract with Veolia Transportation for its Southwest Division includes 24 YRT routes operating primarily in the City of Vaughan, and some routes in the Towns of Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Aurora and Markham and the Township of King.  Approximately 214 unionized Veolia operators and mechanics and 131 YRT vehicles provide service to nearly 28,000 daily weekday riders in YRT’s Southwest Division.

At this time, YRT/Viva continues to operate all regular service.  York Region is hopeful that the two parties will reach an agreement without a strike, but advises residents to visit the YRT/Viva website at www.yrt.ca or call the Customer Service Centre at 1-866-MOVE-YRT (1-866-668-3978) to stay informed and plan ahead.

In the event of a strike, YRT/Viva Transit Inspectors and Customer Information Representatives will be available at busy locations throughout the Region to assist customers and provide trip planning guidance.  YRT/Viva will also outline alternate modes of transportation that residents can use throughout the strike and will extend its Customer Service Centre hours to assist callers in planning alternate routes.
 
In the event of a strike, customers are encouraged to make alternate travel arrangements such as:
• Car pooling
• Alternate route arrangements
• Use of north/south TTC routes operating in York Region
• to connect to and from the Toronto subway system
• Use of GO Transit services in the Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill and King areas
• Brampton Transit’s Züm

YRT/Viva offers local and rapid transit services throughout all nine municipalities in York Region.  More than 120 routes keep residents connected within York Region, as well as with connecting services in the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel.  More than 19 million riders used YRT / Viva services in 2010, with an average of 73,000 boardings made each weekday.

BACKGROUNDER

For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca

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Media Contact: Michelle McEwan, Communications Specialist, York Region
                       Phone:  905-830-4444, ext. 1209 or Cell: 905-251-6412
                       Email:  michelle.mcewan@york.ca

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