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Is the bus strike coming to an end?

Poor XUP is feeling demoralized by the bus strike, and she’s not the only one. Aside from the grueling daily inconvenience to everybody – which has now stretched over a month – there’s an impending health and safety factor. Temperatures over the next few days are expected to plummet into the -30s, and that’s not even counting the wind chill.

I don’t think I’ll be as cheerful and philosophical about those 80-minute walks once the brutal cold snap starts tomorrow.

But maybe the strike’s almost over. What do you think? Are you sensing any movement? Do you think the two sides might someday soon get around to sitting down in the same room and talking about what needs to be done to end this strike? Or that they might agree to let an objective third party decide? Or do you think we should we all just go out and buy cars? Click on over into the polling booth and register your prediction.


Also, my friend Rita has asked me to ask you all how the strike is affecting you personally. Have you had to change your lifestyle in order to cope with it? In what area of your life are you feeling the biggest impact? Work? Home? Financial? Social? Recreational? Emotional?

19 comments to Is the bus strike coming to an end?

  • XUP

    Who’s Rita? And why does she want to know? I she writing an expose? Send her over to my blog where she can get a glimpse of my personal transit-free life.

  • She’s a friend of mine. As far as I know, she’s not writing anything. But she’s sick of sleeping on her son’s couch every weeknight so that she can go to work.

  • The biggest impact for me? I HATE driving my car to work, and I have to do it. Theoretically speaking, I could ride my bike. But I’m not good with winter cycling, especially since I would be riding entirely in pitch blackness and depending on my lights.

    I find driving to work a frustrating experience. My walk to the bus stop followed by the 95 to Baseline was a contemplative time. I could listen to podcasts, or music, or read, or check my e-mail, or nothing. Now I have to FOCUS on driving.

    Plus, somebody pranged my car in the parking lot and scarpered, leaving me with a $700 repair bill. Think Larry O would pay?

  • J.

    I feel awful. The bus strike is not having a big impact on me at all. A. and I walk to work, it’s about 1/2 hour or we drive. We probably drive about 1-3 time a week, depending on what is happening after work or the weather.

    My mom is kind enough to let my brother use her van, while the strike is going on. Normally he buses from the house, to carleton to work. Now he can’t. He used a bike before Christmas, but now that she’s here, she lets him use the van.

  • We borrowed a car and I walk to work now… The impact is much worse on my BH who has to bum rides to school, work and placement. Even with our borrowed car we can’t get/afford parking half the time.

    The only thing I’ll say is that I’ve never been more thankful to live centrally. I would have almost no options if I still lived at my old house – it’s not within walking distance of anything we need.

  • I have been walking to and from work every day since the strike started. Under the best weather conditions, that takes about 25 minutes. With heavy snow, it can take more than 40.

    Some nights, when there is a lot of wind, walking across the Chaudiere Bridge is a blistering experience.

    I have also been eating a lot less fresh food. Every ten days or so, I have been filling my 60 litre backpack with canned beans and jugs of salsa, then trudging home from Bank and Somerset to Somerset and Booth.

  • Bonnie

    My husband and I both drive to work but our college student son uses the bus system. We’ve been able to get him to and from school most days and when we can’t he stays in his friends room at residence. My husband has drove his mom to various appts/shopping as well. So we’re not nearly as inconvenienced as some.

  • Rita

    It has been 35 days now and it sure has changed my life. At first
    it was just trying to bum a ride to work and maybe take a cab home
    ($20.00). As the strike continued it became much worse.
    I have been sleeping at my son’s off Kent St. and sleeping on a mattress on his living room floor. Trying to dress for work out of a backpack. I also found a really nice women in my building that lives in Kanata that is nice enough to come to Westboro to pick me up but she teleworks when ever she can. The Government has been told to be flexible but my Management is charging me leave for any moment that I change my hours slightly. I have lost days & days of Holidays.
    Last week I was only allowed to go to my own home once during the week..My poor cat has been home alone for 3 days 2 nights alone & was very mad at me when I finally got to go home for the weekend.
    It is awful not knowing each day until the very last moment how,
    when & who will be kind enough to take you either way.
    I feel like a ride whore!!!!!!!!!!
    I was supposed to go Irene’s on New Years & had my ticket and everything, After begging a ride home from work – there was no ride to Irene’s. It would have cost me $50.00 in a cab to get there & home. I had to cancel.
    This week I am living @ a friend’s in Ottawa South and will not get to go home till Friday.
    What if this goes on longer & longer…I feel like people felt during the icestorm.
    Thank God for the kind people out there is all I can say!!
    Bless You!

  • sassy

    I am fortunate enough not to be effected by the strike but I as talking with an Ottawa based telephone support person the other day and he was telling me that, he has to take a taxi to and from work across the city, and that it is actually costing him more for transporation than he earns on a shift. The only reason he is going into work to keep his job.

  • parasol

    The strike doesn’t affect me personally since I get a ride or walk to work. I’ve only used the buses once in the four point five years I’ve lived in Ottawa.

    However, I coordinate volunteers for a living and it’s definitely impacted the program I organize. Many volunteers are unable to get around without the buses and I’ve asked volunteers with vehicles to do double duty some weeks. For this reason, I look forward to the end of the bus strike so that this important program can be up and running in full form again soon.

    I don’t see the situation being resolved any time soon. Sad.

  • I go to work late and leave earlier. And I use the strike as an excuse when I need to. But this doesn’t mean I don’t care about the hardships of others!

  • It still mystifies me the disability angle to this thing isn’t getting more attention. Yes, most people are inconvenienced and have to walk to work or share a ride or pay for a taxi to take their groceries home. But the bus is a critical part of some people’s lives. Pay attention to the piece about Melissa and Amanda and the LiveWorkPlay program in this YouTube about the strike:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjXUF8nFZIs

    Then there was this interview on CHUO:

    http://www.transitottawa.ca/2008/12/hidden-victims-of-transit-strike.html

    “More pressing are those who have attendants or caregivers who are unable to tend to their physical needs, such as personal hygiene, medication, and feeding themselves. Not all of those affected have backup options available to them for these services.”

  • As I posted earlier today, I’m hoping that Clive Doucet might end up leading the way to a solution soon. If that happens, then I think it could end soon, maybe within a week or two. Otherwise, not before February, I fear.

    As for me, the strike hasn’t affected me too much, thankfully. I live in the Market, and work\go to school at the U of O so I don’t normally have to take the bus. It is getting frustrating, though, knowing how difficult it is to leave downtown.

  • TechWood

    I have been lucky in that I have only had two client appointments in Ottawa during the strike so far. Both times I was delivering equipment.

    On the first occasion I was able to park at the Rideau Centre (where my appointment was) and only had a single piece of equipment to deliver – easy enough.

    On the second occasion I wasn’t so lucky as their parking lots were gated as full, I found a spot about 5 blocks from the mall and filled it with as much as the meter would take. I also wasn’t lucky in that I had to make 2 trips and risked dropping their goods on both occasions – but it was easier than making 3 trips. However, due to the length of time you have at Ottawa meters I returned to a parking ticket after I got things set up for the client and returned.

    Aside from that – just an absurd amount of traffic added to a long trip (about 175km return trip). What would normally take 4 hours, took the entire day. But I’m not even going to begin complaining, I’d have been at the end of my rope long ago if I was a regular transit commuter.

    Cheers,
    TW

  • Malva

    We’re lucky that we hardly ever use the transit system normally even though we’re a car-free family. I telework full time and have everything within walking distance.

    But, having said that, I’m very pregnant at the moment and with the sidewalks being in not so nice conditions most of the time, would really like to have the option to take the bus. Where I’d normally walk both ways, I’d like to be able to walk one way and bus back. So instead, I stay home and send my husband out to do errands.

    I also have the chance to have great neighbours and one took me to some appointments a couple times. My midwife was also nice enough to come to my house instead of me going to the clinic for my regular app’t, as it would be a pretty expensive cab ride.

    You know, although it’s an inconvenience and having a “decent” transit system was a factor when we decided to go car-free, I’m still supporting the transit workers and hope the city offers them something decent sooner rather than later.

  • Nat

    I am just spending a lot more time in my car – and it just takes a lot more planning to get anywhere. Then Man is reconsidering his use of public transit. It’s just trickier when he works late.

    As for the end, it’s going to take the government to intervene and call for binding arbitration. Unless someone gets seriously injured tomorrow walking to work — then it’s over and fast.

  • Clive Doucet for Mayor in 2010.

  • Lissa

    I’m behind on my blogs!

    I’d like to add my comments. I’m getting depressed. I’m 100% dependent on the busses and were it not for a kind soul responding to my car pool request, I’d be SOL. My office has done what it can to help me get to work but taxi-ing day in and out is completely exhausting. What time you could save by doing so is eradicated by the traffic and the hours (7 to 3? I don’t function.) My social life is completely dependent on imposing upon others, which I feel terrible about.

    My brother is a Carleton student and we don’t know many people… we’re pretty quiet. So he’s been taking a combination of cabs and shuttles where he can, but he’s spending hundreds of dollars just to get to class.

    My mom hasn’t worked since December 9. It would cost more to get back and forth than she makes in a day.

    We don’t have a family car, or the means to get one. None of us is a practiced enough driver to rent one. I’d like the busses back please.

  • Ottawa has a world-class transport system. I used to ride those buses, way back when. I expect I’ll do so again when we move back. I used to count on their insta-dial bus stop numbers, where you could quickly find out the schedule.
    I used to take shortcuts on my bicycle via the transitways. Sure, I got tickets, but I never seemed to have my ID on me.

    The thing is, people take jobs in remote parts of town based on the proximity to transport. People buy homes based on the same. To me this seems more like extortion than causing an inconvenience. I certainly don’t know all the political details, but what with it being the middle of winter, and soon hundreds of thousands of people on the dole, these guys are lucky to have a job at all. I think someone has just perhaps maybe have made a slight boo-boo.
    Well, let me rephrase: to the union who has coerced their members into a 30-day bus strike in the middle of an Ottawa winter during the worst economic crisis we’ll ever see: F**K YOU.
    I remember this happening before. Spontaneous car pools and good nature by most. But some vowed never to use public transport again. This isn’t f*cking France. In the winter it is an *essential* service. Right now those bus drivers (and the mechanics and other supporting staff) are lucky to even have a job. Not all of us have that luxury.
    If you can’t reach your bargain, they you’re all fired. Privatize the buses and hire the unemployed. We’ll all save a lot of headache and tax dollars – at least until they the new workforce gets unionized themselves.

    Get back to work.

    And Larry? You’re a [redacted]. I sincerely hope you’re well out of office — or any kind of influential position — by the time I get home.

    And that goes for you too Harper.

    And that other guy.

    If you see my mum, tell her I miss her.

    Andrew