B.C. Transit buses may service Victoria cruise ship traffic

Union representing transit drivers wants in on deal

B.C. Transit is hoping to lease six of its buses to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority this summer to transport cruise ship passengers, and the union representing local bus drivers doesn’t like it.

The buses would travel between Ogden Point and the downtown core, but the proposal does not include using unionized bus drivers, said Ben Williams, Canadian Auto Workers local 333 president.

The recently negotiated union contract states B.C. Transit bus drivers must be used on any buses that begin and end their service in Greater Victoria, Williams said.

“If B.C. Transit has extra equipment they can lease out, it should be going to addressing transit issues in Greater Victoria,” he said.

The GVHA has yet to award its contract for cruise shuttle services, but B.C. Transit is a lead proponent, said Meribeth Burton, B.C. Transit spokeswoman.

Many B.C. Transit communities including Victoria, Whistler and Kelowna scale back services during the summer season leaving some resources under-utilized,” she said in a statement.

Any revenue from the contract would reduce taxpayer-funded transit service, Burton said.

Williams vowed to file a grievance and take the matter to court, should B.C. Transit be awarded the GVHA contract.

“You’ll see protests outside B.C. Transit’s offices,” he said.

A GHVA spokesperson confirmed negotiations are taking place with potential contractors for cruise ship shuttle service.

dpalmer@vicnews.com