SAN DIEGO — San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus riders were being asked to plan ahead as dozens of bus operators remained on strike Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, the work stoppage was affecting the South Bay Bus Division with 33% of MTS bus routes being impacted.
Buses, like the one that comes through Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, were delayed as a result. Route 934 is one of many routes on MTS’ list of routes that could be impacted.
Outside of the MTS bus yard in Chula Vista, dozens of employees were holding signs and walking the picket line, asking for better working conditions and pay.
Negotiations between MTS contractor Transdev and its bus operators have failed so far.
At one point, when the strike started Tuesday afternoon, drivers walked away from their buses at the end of their shift and left management to park the buses inside the facility.
Some bus riders in Chula Vista told FOX 5 that they are having to wait double the amount of time, if not more, for their buses. Several bus stops in Chula Vista were empty during the day Wednesday.
MTS normally has 195 employees just for the South Bay, but on Wednesday, roughly 30 MTS workers showed up to work in the South Bay, according to the public transit service provider.
“We prioritize particular routes, the ones that are higher ridership, more popular to make sure we are trying to get as much service there as possible, where we think people will be needing it the most,” said Mark Olson, public information officer with MTS.
Union leaders say the strike could last 20 days.
“We are going through negotiations with the company which we have exhausted negotiations to the point where the company gave us the last best and final, which was voted down. We also had a strike authorization vote which is 100% to strike, that’s why we’re here,” said Jose Puga, vice president of Teamsters 683.
Bus routes out of the South Bay Division that could be affected include: 1, 3, 5, 27, 28, 35, 225, 701, 704, 705, 709, 712, 901, 904, 905, 906, 907, 909, 916, 917, 923, 929, 932, 933, 934, 950/950A, 955, 961, 962, 963, 967, 968, 992.
If the work stoppage continues, weekday minibus routes 14, 18, 25, 83, 84, 833, 838, 944, 945, 946, 964, 965, 985 could be impacted. On weekends, 832, 833, 838, 945, 965 Saturday service and 832, 833, 838 routes on Sundays may be affected.
Passengers are encouraged to check the MTS Alerts & Detours webpage for updates and most accurate service information.
MTS Trolley services are not affected by the strike.
Mitun Seguin, vice president of marketing and communications for Transdev, released this statement:
“Transdev is actively negotiating with the Teamsters 683 and remains hopeful that we will come to an amicable resolution soon with minimal disruption to the riding public. We have been engaged in negotiations with the union in good faith, with the goal of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement that addresses the interests of both parties. During this period, we remain dedicated to ensuring the continuity of our operations and minimizing any impact on our valued customers. We have contingency plans in place to mitigate disruptions and to provide ongoing support to our clients. We have made good faith financial concessions, in addition to other important economic concessions and remain open to continued dialogue. We look forward to continuing respectful and productive discussions to find a resolution that meets the needs of our employees and aligns with the long-term sustainability of our business.”