Bus riders face disruptive bus schedules and strike for second week

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As the RTC bus drivers strike continues into a second week, passengers are forced to adjust to the disrupted schedule.

At noon on Tuesday, more than a dozen people were waiting for the 1 Bus at the 4th Street bus station. Many had been waiting for almost an hour.

Among them was John Brainard, who was returning home after working nights at Club Cal-Neva, where he worked for 17 years. His shift starts at 2:45 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m.

Brainard said he had to pay $ 20 for a cab to get to work and was unaware that RTC offers free rides via RIDE, FlexRIDE, taxis and UberX.

Although he is not at risk of losing his job, he believes many are.

“People, especially those who work in these casinos, don’t earn enough to take a cab. And they certainly don’t want to walk for miles before getting into work and standing for at least eight hours and then walking back, ”Brainard said.

Gerard London, Sales Manager, has been taking the bus to work for at least seven years as his main form of transportation.

Since last week’s strike, he has had to wait up to a few hours for the bus, and the wait time varies daily. His employers have been flexible with him, but there is no consistency.

Charlysia Washington was also heading for work. She said that due to the bus strike, she was only able to go to work. If she needs groceries or other supplies, she relies on her family for help. She added that she had walked or biked for an hour to Walmart to buy the things she needed.

“I have a good support system,” she said, “but then you have to think about the people who don’t have support. “

The strike was called as the Teamsters and Keolis union, the contracting company RTC uses to run the bus service, were negotiating whether they should adapt bundles – the way bus drivers plan their routes.

Bus drivers currently use a cafeteria style offering to create their schedules. That means bus drivers can choose which routes they want to take, Gary Watson, president of Teamsters Local 533, told RGJ last week. He said this method allows for a flexible work-life balance.

Mike Ake, regional vice president of operations at Keolis North America, said the cafeteria-style bidding doesn’t work because it’s inconsistent, saying every bus driver operates a unique route, which which makes it difficult to replace a shift if someone gets sick or goes on vacation.

It also means some bus drivers could work late at night and early the next morning, causing poor work and sleep schedules, Ake said.

Bulk auctions would create a cluster of certain bus routes and bus drivers would systematically operate those routes. He added that this is an industry standard.

Ake and Watson are scheduled to meet this Thursday and Friday to continue negotiations.

Free rides available during the strike

Bus riders can download the Washoe FlexRIDE RTC app or call (775) 335-0035 to book a free ride. These rides will operate from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the RTC website.

Taxi service is also available. To schedule a taxi, call the RTC at (775) 348-0477 and they will book a ride for the customer. UberX vouchers are available for regular transit users. For more information and to request a voucher, call PSTN at (775) 348-0477 and press option 2. UberX trips must start and end in the Reno-Sparks zone.

Kristin Oh is a public safety reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 775-420-1285. Help us support his work by subscribing.


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