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'Guess no rent for February now': Metro Vancouverites react to full bus strike

"TransLink please refund me the two days I can’t use my compass card," said another local.
The Metro Vancouver bus strike affects nearly all routes across the region starting on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.

Metro Vancouverities faced a complete bus strike ahead of their morning commute today. 

CUPE 4500 — the union representing bus supervisors — moved forward with strike action at 3 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, effectively shutting down all service to buses and SeaBus operations across the region. 

The SkyTrain, including the Canada, Expo and Millennium lines, as well as the West Coast Express, are unaffected by the strike action. 

Strike action is expected to continue for a couple of days, expiring at 3 a.m. on Wednesday. 

The action comes after the union and its employer, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), failed to reach an agreement. The union is asking for wages commensurate with SkyTrain Field Supervisors, who it says do similar work. However, Coast Mountain argues that its transit supervisors aren't responsible for directly managing employees. 

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) advised travellers to check their route before heading to the airport, noting that it may be affected by the strike. Also, it cautioned that SkyTrain services may also be affected at some point during the job action. 

BC Ferries has also issued a travel advisory to customers cautioning that the strike impacts transit fully or partially to its ferry terminals. 

Locals react to Metro Vancouver bus strike 

One man who took to X, formerly Twitter, noted that not everyone lives close to work and can opt out of taking the bus. 

He also noted that Uber's fares "were $200 this morning for a 25 min trip if you were lucky to get one," as so many people struggled to access rideshare on their way to work.

 Another individual believes CMBC effectively ignored its supervisors "for a month," leading to the communication breakdown.

 A local quipped that customers should launch a "no pay February" in reaction to the full strike action.

One woman noted that her husband had to miss work, adding: "Guess no rent for February now."

Someone also wanted to get a partial refund on their compass card for the days they would be unable to use transit. 

Other people went a step further, asking the transit authority to pay for wages they'd miss from being unable to go to work. 

Many people also seemed confused or in disbelief about the strike, with some commuters taking to social media to ask if their specific route was cancelled. In nearly all cases, the job action affects all buses across the Lower Mainland, except for ones that aren't operated by CMBC, such as West Vancouver Transit, which operates lines like the 250 Horseshoe Bay blue bus.

CMBC operates more than 96 per cent of TransLink's bus routes in Metro Vancouver.

While the majority of people are upset about the strike, a couple of locals shared support for the union, noting that essential workers deserve fair wages. 

With a file from Lindsay William-Ross