It is a big relief for everyone that it looks like there will not be a bus strike.
In the Cowichan Valley, there is only one other route that is as well used as the one that services the Cowichan Lake area.
That means a bus strike would have hit hard.
And that’s not even counting those at the Lake who use the commuter bus to Victoria.
It’s a great thing that people at the lake use the bus service.
Communities have been trying for years to encourage people to get out of their individual vehicles and take public transportation, as it helps with traffic congestion on roads, and it’s also good for the environment, cutting down on emissions.
It’s also a great boon to those who can’t afford to keep a vehicle on the road, with the cost of the car itself, plus gas and insurance. Some families use it as a way to only have to maintain one vehicle — other family members use the bus.
But it’s key that people be able to count on the bus running on a predictable schedule.
Look at how much trouble it caused some riders when schedule changes came into effect last year that made one run to Lake Cowichan into an express, rather than taking the old highway and making stops along the route.
People plan their lives around the bus schedule. They arrange their work hours, they arrange shopping and medical appointments to coincide with when they will be able to get there.
When the bus doesn’t run, some are completely stranded. That is certainly no way to build ridership.
A strike would have been a disruption that could have seriously negatively impacted people’s lives.
Particularly coming from Lake Cowichan, walking or cabs would simply not have been an option for many. Hitchhiking can be dangerous and isn’t an efficient way to get anywhere on a schedule.
The company that operates the buses played a little bit of brinkmanship here, waiting until the last minute to see if the employees were indeed willing to go all the way and walk off the job.
We’re glad that a promising deal has been put on the table — it’s good for everyone, especially riders.