Today; Wednesday August 1st, 2001, the Liberal government of the Canadian province of British Columbia has introduced Bill 13 into legislature, which puts an end to the Translink strike. The strike, now an amazing four months old, or exactly one-hundred and twenty-three days, has caused quite a commotion; whether it be on Everything, jabber amongst the bus drivers on the picket lines, yelling during the Translink board meetings, or on George Puil's front lawn, this strike has touched the hearts of everyone who makes use of the Greater Vancouver transit system.

The basis of Bill 13 is Vince Ready's report, which details a signing bonus for the workers, an eventual 8% wage increase over three years, and a work group consisting of equal union and company members to flesh out details of part-time workers. Bill 13 differs in that the working group must come to a conclusion before December of 2001 as opposed to October of 2002. Furthermore, contracting out is permitted for Coast Mountain Bus Company under Bill 13 (yet was assigned to the working group under Ready's report).

By and large, the drivers are overjoyed about the news, eager to get back to work. Their eagerness was demonstrated approximately a month ago when they had a rally at Joyce Station, all drivers showing up in work uniform, ready to work. For a lot of bus drivers, the strike has been nothing more than catastrophic on their lives, forcing some into personal bankruptcy, having their houses or vehicles impounded by the banks. Four months is a long time to be living off of strike pay.

The buses, however, won't be back on the roads right away. If you've been paying attention to the overhead trolley lines, for example, you'll notice that they're in severe need of repair. On Broadway near Cassiar, for example, the line has been almost completely destroyed, meaning it'll be a few days yet before you see transit service return to normal. Many buses are also coated in graffiti, which will take the returning maintenance workers several days to clean up. In order to appease disgruntled transit riders, Translink is offering the first three days of full service for free. Full service is expected to resume on Tuesday, August 7th 2001. Seabus service is expected to resume either on Friday, August 3rd 2001, or, Saturday, August 4th 2001.

As for changes that will be in effect since the beginning of the transit strike, Richmond city transit users will be happy to finally make use of the exclusive bus-only lanes down No. 3 Road, which is earmarked for the 98 B-Line to travel down. The new Skytrain cars, made for use on the Millenium Line, will finally be able to be displayed at Stadium Station, and many service cuts of the lesser-used routes (especially in Langley, and Maple Ridge) may still come into effect a month or two down the line.

August transit passes will more than likely not be on sale, however, you'd better believe that September passes will be. Translink has hinted that it may even discount the September passes, making them even more attractive to disgruntled transit users.

As for me, personally, I'm very happy that the strike is over. Since I live out near Brentwood Mall, it was somewhat difficult to get around at times. Four months -- one third of a year -- is a long time to be without transit; I can barely remember the days of being able to go visit Metrotown, North Vancouver, Richmond, or UBC on a whim. I've gone through three bicycles; the first was stolen, the second's broken, and the third has worn and flat tires. Although cycling is certainly healthier than riding on the bus, I think you'll still see me on the 42 seat limo.

Oh, and I hear that Pseudo_Intellectual is throwing a wild post-strike party ;)

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