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Home / Neighborhood / LA County / Santa Clarita bus drivers strike enters 50th day with no end in sight

Santa Clarita bus drivers strike enters 50th day with no end in sight

by City News Service
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The Santa Clarita bus drivers strike has entered its 50th day Monday and there is no sign it will end soon.

Santa Clarita Transit is operating on a limited schedule with five local routes and school routes Monday through Friday. Dial-A-Ride and Access service for special needs riders was recently expanded, but still operating on a limited basis.

Santa Clarita Transit partnered with SilverRide Inc. to provide Dial-A- Ride and Access Service by using wheelchair accessible mini-vans and sedans. The Santa Clarita Transit or Access Services logos will be displayed on the vehicles.

As part of the agreement, the city has lifted its priority use restrictions previously limited to emergency medical appointments and includes all regular Dial-A-Ride use cases.

Those who want to use the Dial-A-Ride service can request next-day trips for free by calling the Dial-A-Ride and Access reservation number 661-294- 0327 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no weekend Dial-A-Ride or Access service available.

Meanwhile, no progress has been reported in the bus drivers strike in Santa Clarita, which is in its 50th day as of Monday.

Emergency transit service has been in place since the strike started and limited routes are in use, but negotiations between the drivers union and Santa Clarita Transit are not progressing.

The limited bus service in Santa Clarita that has been in use since the bus drivers strike began eight weeks ago was updated with a new schedule introduced for the five local routes that are in use for emergency transit service.

A lack of available bus drivers led to suspension of all service in Santa Clarita during the weekends.

The bus drivers for Santa Clarita Transit began striking on Oct. 9, 50 days ago. MV Transportation, which contracts with Santa Clarita Transit to provide bus service for Santa Clarita, began suspending routes and canceling some services when the strike started.

Limited service is being offered, with school routes, Dial A Ride and some local routes in operation on an emergency basis.

Two emergency transit service routes were added Oct. 17, bringing five limited emergency routes, six limited school tripper routes and Dial-A-Ride and Access service in operation Monday through Friday.

The emergency routes are in operation from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Santa Clarita Transit secured a temporary emergency contract with Transit Systems to provide emergency bus service during the strike between the union representing drivers and MV Transportation.

The emergency contract with Transit Systems began providing limited, fare-free bus service for local and school tripper routes on Oct. 10.

There is no commuter services being provided during the strike.

Lourdes Garcia, president of Local 572, said the union is seeking a 9% pay increase for 2022, an 8% increase for 2023 and an 8% increase for 2024, according to media reports.

MV Transportation is reportedly offering $19.75 per hour to start, with a 25 cent increase after one year, 10 cent increase after two years, 10 cent increase after three years, 15 cent increase after four years and 75 cent increase after five years.

The strike halted service for hundreds of students and passengers in the city.

Santa Clarita Transit posted on its website service was suspended on all commuter and local routes when the strike started. A driver shortage forced Santa Clarita Transit to suspend all bus service on Oct. 9.

The strike interrupted bus service for students in the William S. Hart Union High School District and passengers throughout the city.

The city of Santa Clarita partners with MV Transportation for bus services. The union voted to authorize a strike on Sept. 15. The city of Santa Clarita is not a participant in the labor dispute, MV Transportation said in a statement.

The union notified Santa Clarita Transit on Sept. 28 of the decision to halt work, but delayed going on strike for a week.

City officials are encouraging both sides to continue negotiations and bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached.

Santa Clarita Transit provides a school tripper service for students in the Hart district who attend La Mesa Junior High School, Castaic High School, Rancho Pico Junior High School, Saugus High School and Arroyo Seco Junior High School.

The Hart district posted on its website for those who use Santa Clarita Transit services to make alternate plans for transportation to schools. The district’s yellow bus service for special needs students will not be interrupted, according to the district.

“No other local, tripper, or commuter routes can be served at this time. However, the city continues efforts to increase service levels,” the site reads. “The city is also coordinating with the Hart district to cover service gaps.”

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